August 15, 2009

Mt. Hood Jazz Festival Recap

This weekend I had the pleasure of playing two gigs at the 2009 Mt. Hood Jazz Festival.  On Friday night, I played with Art Abram’s Swing Machine big band with special guest Bobby Shew.SDC10436

(Check out more pictures from the gig on the Past Gigs page)

I was absolutely blown away by Bobby Shew’s playing.  The guy still has tons of technique, range, and amazing musicality; especially apparent in his ballads and cadenzas.  The band itself sounded pretty swinging as well.  Since I joined the band a year ago, there have been a few personnel changes and the group now has four strong sections.  It was especially a pleasure to hear Greg Garrett playing with the trumpet section.

On Saturday night, I played with Gary Hobbs and his Stan Kenton tribute band.  The band was put together especially for the event and was a great combination of players.  One of the best things about the gig was that it was my first chance to play a gig with Jeff Uusitalo who is somewhat of a Portland icon.  He doesn’t play around town often, but when he does, he always sounds great.  It was also a pleasure to play with such an interesting combination of players in the saxophone section (Kirt Peterson – lead alto, Clark Bondy – second alto/bari, Tim Jensen – bari, Steve Owen – second tenor, and myself on first tenor).

The Mt. Hood Jazz Festival is certainly not what it was in it’s heyday with tens of thousands of visitors to the college stadium to see full days of national and international acts, but it is still a great event.  I hope it grows in the coming years.