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Mike Horsfall: Blog

Thank you PDX Jazz Fest 2015

Posted on March 2, 2015 with 0 comments

It's March 2015, and the PDX Jazz Festival has been in town for the last 2 weeks.  My involvement in it has given me a real affirmation of why I continue doing what I do, that is split my time and energy between piano and vibes, not being able to quit one for the other. I am grateful for the wonderful jazz community for the love and support they show for the art.

Thank you Don Lucoff, Art Abrams, Steve Hanneman, and Nancy Nickel for giving me the opportunity to share music with some wonderful musicians, heavyweights in the local, national, and international scenes. On 2/15 Devin Phillips joined me at the jazz vespers at St. James Lutheran. 2/20 I was at the piano with the Art Abrams Swing Machine Big Band, backing Kurt Elling at the NewmarkTheater.

Then Wed, 2/25, and Thur 2/26, Arrivederci's Wine Bar in Milwaukie, OR. gave me two nights on the vibes, Wed with all-stars Phil Baker (bass), Dan Faehnle (guitar), and Todd Strait (drums).   On Thursday night I was paired with the Blueprints Trio, one of Portland's tightest jazz ensembles.

I admire PDX Jazz fest's ability to incorporate the local scene, not just by promoting events that would normally be there anyway, but by booking various duos at choice locations in the downtown core area. On Friday, 2/27 I played vibes with guitarist Christopher Woitach at the Hilton, and then Sat. 2/28 I was on piano backing the wonderful Shelly Rudolph at the Westin. Both events were well promoted and attended, and the hotel staff was into it.


I remember listening to Darrell Grant interview Ahmad Jamal last year (again, a PDX Jazz event). Darrell asked if  there was one bit of advice that Ahmad could give a musician contemplating a career in music. Mr. Jamal's answer was to be versatile, to be able to go in different directions should the need arise, whether is education, arranging, knowing different styles, etc. One might think that you must keep narrowing your focus - and that might work for some, but being able to adapt will increase your odds of "making it" in this business, aka enjoying yourself as a professional musician (reference George Colligan's recent blog:…/how-many-jazz-singers-does-).

Again, thank you to the establishments that book the jazz, to the listeners that encourage the performers, and to my fellow musicians who inspire. I'll see you around town, either on vibes or at the piano... or maybe in the classroom.