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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Jan 23, 2012

PDX Jazz will honor trumpeter Thara Memory as the second annual Portland Jazz Master to kick off the 2012 US Bank Portland Jazz Festival Presented by Alaska Airlines on Friday, February 17th at 7:30pm at the Winningstad Theatre. An influential performer and educator within the Portland community for over 40 years, Memory will use the occasion to present an ambitious, special program in tribute to his inspiration Miles Davis, entitled "Artfully Miles." The show will spotlight the landmark collaborations between Davis & Gil Evans, including compositions and arrangements from the albums Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain.


"I met Miles once but he never taught me straight on. Yet his teaching was so prevalent, for four or five decades he constantly changed the music," remarked Memory. "I hope by doing this program, I can pick up where Miles left off and I can continue going with that torch and making sure it stays lit."


Memory has been an instrumental performer and teacher within the Portlandcommunity for over forty years. He is the renowned teacher of recent GRAMMY® Award winner and Portland-native, Esperanza Spalding. Memory founded the American Music Program in 2005, which is an award-winning youth jazz orchestra with national accolades. In 2006, he earned the Jazz Society of Oregon's "Musician of the Year" award and, one year later, was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. He has also played with seminal musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, Stanley Turrentine, Eddie Henderson, Natalie Cole, Arturo Sandoval, and Eddie Harris.


I spoke with Mr. Memory as he prepared for not only his prime spot in the jazz festival, but also a preview of his opera, “Sherman,” Friday, Saturday and Sunday February 18-20 and then the following weekend. The story is based in the 1940s-50s and also features the jazz-themed art of the late Philemon Reid. This project is unique in itself because it establishes, for the historical record, the role Portland played in the popularity of jazz. Click here to listen to the conversation, along with musical selections from:


tubist Ja'Ttik Clark (principal with the Oregon Symphony) and violinist Peter Piazza (Portland Opera), as well as lead trumpeter Ben McDonald, bassist Ben Jones, drummer Israel Annoh, pianist Janice Scroggins, trombonist Stan Boch, trombonist Dan Brewster, french hornist Bill Stalnaker, and tenor saxophonist Renato Caranto.


Leo Genovese (keyboards), Jamey Haddad (percussion),  and Otis Brown  (drums).


Purdie Good Cookin' – From Memphis Soul Stew to Portland Clam Chowder. Enamored of “Pretty” Purdie’s soulful playing since hearing him back Aretha Franklin on the her live Fillmore West recording of 1971, Memory cut this smoking track with the great drummer in 2007. The band is Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums); Linda Hornbuckle (vocals); Jay 'Bird' Koder (guitar); Rob Paparozzi (harmonica); Renato Caranto (saxophone); Thara Memory (trumpet); and Louis Pain (Hammond b-3 organ).

last projects, this straight ahead session was recorded in Oregon in 1994. Memory provides the Miles’ inflected trumpet on this tune, built on the changes to “All Blues”. The band is Eddie Harris (tenor saxophone); Thara Memory (trumpet); Janice Scroggins, Peter Boe (piano); Phil Baker (acoustic bass); Ron Steen (drums)

Warren Rand (alto sax), Michael York (tenor sax), Andre St James (bass), Ron Steen (drums), Gordon Lee, George Mitchell, and Joe Keel (piano), Jake Kot (bass), and Greg Fisher (drums).