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BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival - A World Class Jazz Showcase in Portland

Portland is a one-of-a-kind destination sprawled out over 145 miles of beautiful Oregon terrain. The city is also known as the PDX, and is the third largest city in the Pacific Northwest. It's a can't miss destination that features a progressive vibe, natural beauty, and multiple unique events.


The BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival is a celebration dedicated to preserving and promoting America’s indigenous art form, jazz music. The event takes place each February at various venues in Portland that range from intimate clubs to a large auditorium. Event planners expect over 15,000 attendees during the 10 days of the festival. This year's event is designed to pay respect to the trendsetters and pioneers of jazz. Renowned artists such as Branford Marsalis, Kurt Elling, Jon Faddis, and more will be playing iconic songs from the past as well as some of their songs. The festival strives to make an impact on the youth of the community as well by offering outreach programs and classes for children in the community. got the chance to interview Don Lucoff, Executive Artistic Director for the event, to talk about this great celebration of jazz music.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

DL: Since 2004, it began in partnership with Travel Portland as a cultural tourism initiative to celebrate Black History Month. This year the event is held February 16-26.   


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?

DL: Approximately 15,000 people for all ticketed and non-ticketed events, plus education outreach programs.


RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event?

DL: 70% come from the Portland area, 30% from outside the metro area, primarily from Eugene, and Seattle. The crowd consists primarily of singles and couples, 45+ years old.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

DL: Our focus is on the artists who are specific to our festival, with carefully curated programs often spotlighting icons such as John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie. Plus, the event also highlights young cutting edge bands like Thundercat and Craig Taborn and even high-level Grammy award-winning musicians such as Branford Marsalis, Kurt Elling, John Scofield and Maria Schneider.


RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.

DL: There are free happy hour shows by local artists at various hotels around downtown and even at the Aloft at the Airport. On the first weekend, we will also feature local musicians and jazz conversations from approximately 4:00 pm to show time in the lobby of the performing arts complex at the P5 Art Bar.


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

DL: Jon Faddis will be a special guest with the Mel Brown Big Band and Kurt Elling as a special guest with Branford Marsalis.


RAL: What attendees find for dining options?

DL: The Art Bar has dining in the P5 lobby, and Portland Prime, Nel Centro, and Alta Bira City Tavern are our restaurant sponsors


RAL: What is the environment like?

DL: The venues range from intimate 90 seat clubs to the 900-seat PAC. Each venue has a unique environment including the brew pub vibe of Al’s Den, Lola’s Room, and Mission Theater.


RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

DL: They should check the Travel Portland website for the hotel partners, and they are listed on our site with links to special deals.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

DL: Everything since it's supported for and by the community. We get a lot of support from RACC and downtown hospitality. We go to great lengths to provide the finest in hospitality for our visiting artists by having them stay in partner hotels and eating in our sponsor restaurants.


RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?

DL: We do a couple of outreach events in schools, but they are not open to the public for security reasons.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

DL: Because people can pick and choose from so many events that cost nothing (or a nominal fee) to see world class jazz.

For more information about the BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival, please visit their website.