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June 29, 2010

Monday Nights at the Produce Row Cafe

Last night, on an impulse, we stopped at the newly revamped Produce Row Cafe located on SE Oak and 2nd in Portland. Unfortunately I wasn't equipped with my camera, but I can offer shots from the press preview we attended along with our Brewpublic.com colleagues a couple of weeks ago. Now, I knew they used to do live jazz on Monday nights, and I wasn't sure if this was going to continue with the newly dressed up space. After staying for just one set, we know now this must be a more common activity for us. Sipping beer and whiskey pairings, enjoying great food, and tapping to some bop standards is a pretty decent night.

Our barkeep was talkative, alert, on top of everything, and had a great sense of humor. And even though he didn't know much about the brews offered (one feature Produce Row prides itself on), he made up for it with friendly conversations and quick wit. We got the sense that he was new, and for someone starting off, he didn't get overwhelmed or flustered and was able to be a great support for the rest of the serving staff. He's definitely a keeper there and we'll look forward to having him deliver libations to us on future Monday nights. My only major gripe about Produce Row, no imperial pint glasses. Instead they use cheater, English looking imperial-like shaped glasses. With a decent head on a brew, you're lucky to get 14 ounces. Please Produce Row, do the honest thing here.

Their food was amazing. Last night I had a pulled pork sandwich that stacked up with some of the best BBQ places in town. Also, at the press preview in the beginning of June, they offered treats like beet salads, nachos, reuben sandwiches, pork sliders. All made with exceptional quality, unique ingredients, and extremely tasty.

We also enjoyed a pour of the new Pro Row Pale Ale. This collaborative effort was brewed especially for Produce Row by Laurelwood, Walking Man, and Double Mountain. An above average brew that offered clean, floral and citrus hop flavors, with biscuity sweet malts for balance. I hope this gets brewed repetitively, because it's worth the trip to Produce Row alone.
This maybe a sincere replacement for the Blue Monk (SE Belmont), which caved into the dart and billiards crowd and no longer offers live jazz on a regular basis. The house band started off, a piano trio. The highlight was when they played Bemsha Swing with a straight ahead, sort of hip hop drum rhythm. After about 45 minutes and four or five tunes, other players were welcomed to sit in. This allowed for a guitarist to be added and a new drummer with a totally different, a little more free flowing style, where as the other gentleman was very technical and precise.

The crowd at Produce Row was really mixed. Working class folk, hipsters, older couples, youngsters just stopping by for a burger. It was quite the collage of personalities. The best and most important thing though, was that everybody was enjoying the sounds. Stop by Monday nights, imbibe all evening while tunes begin at 9pm.

Photo Credits: All photos by Matthew DiTullo

June 25, 2010

Fred Anderson, 1929 - 2010

They say they come in threes. Well, let's hope I don't have to do a third post though. I like Fred Anderson a lot. I must confess, I don't own many of his recordings, but thanks to the beauty of the internet I've been able to sample his sounds through radio streams. His tone is beautiful. It's warm, it fills the air with positive notions of bop, the avant-garde, and even an east meets west vibe at times.

Writing obituaries is not my stronghold. I like to pay my respect and feel it's best for the professional, expert historians to express tribute.
Fred was never less than totally involved in what he was doing, which was forcing air through a bent tube to shake the earth we walked on and the culture we breathed. ~ Howard Mandel

June 22, 2010

First Annual Albert Ayler Festival

New Yorkers have it made! With the addition of the Vision Festival going on now, the lucky bastards are also able to attend the First Annual Albert Ayler Festival in celebration of his 74th birthday anniversary. The likes of Giuseppi Logan, Charles Gayle, the Flow Trio, and notable others will be performing. The happening will take place July 10 at the Riverwalk Commons, Roosevelt Island, New York and AMAZINGLY, IT'S ALL FREE!!!

In celebration of the life and music of legendary free-jazz tenor-saxophonist Albert Ayler, ESP-Disk’ and Issue Project Room, in conjunction with Roosevelt L!ve have curated a day-long free concert, Saturday July 10th from 2-10pm, in honor of the groundbreaking musician’s 74th birthday. With performances by some of the most prolific artists dedicated to pushing the boundaries in the avant-jazz world the same way Ayler did over 40 years ago, this festival will feature sets from The New Atlantis Sextet with Marshall Allen, William Hooker, Charles Gayle, Gunter Hampel, Giuseppi Logan, and more all taking place at RiverWalk Commons on picturesque Roosevelt Island: NYC’s Best Kept Secret.

The outdoor festival will also feature a record fair with a variety of new and used vinyl vendors hosted by ESP-Disk’s own in-house retail operation, ESP Records. Great live music, a great selection of vinyl & CDs, great food from the local Roosevelt Island restaurants and a view of Manhattan that can’t be beat. What more could a music lover want on a summer day?

June 17, 2010

Bill Dixon, 1925 - 2010

I saw sad news on the Bill Dixon Facebook page of his passing. The legendary Jazz empire has lost another great. TRULY, TRULY A GREAT.

From the Bill Dixon Facebook page:

Dear friends,

Bill passed away early this morning at his home. He died peacefully in his sleep with loved ones close by.

The rapidity with which the news of Bill's death has traveled, even before any official announcement, is a testament to how many lives Bill and his work have touched. Take comfort in knowing that he went out in the same manner that he lived his life - working on/thinking about his current work, the recording of our orchestra concert at FIMAV, and planning the materials that will soon accompany the release to market.

Bill spent every waking moment of his life thinking about and creating things of beauty and sharing openly what he knew and loved, through his art and his teaching, with everyone that he came into contact with and everyone anywhere who was paying attention.

We will be sharing stories and images and will bring news regarding his memorial service in the coming days.

-Stephen Haynes

June 15, 2010


Caught this from the Facebook update feed of KMHD [the local Portland Jazz radio station]. It's incredible! Blue Note album covers, even the earlier or later ones outside the Reid Miles regime, are just gorgeous. Absolutely the best typography and graphic design out there. And even though jazz albums have always had a knack for being modern and hip, Blue Note went farther out then just adding text over a Surrealist or Expressionistic painting. For that reason, Blue Note record sleeve designs still influence and effect musicians, listeners, designers, and artists all over the world.

I know nothing about the creators of this video. Or what it's advertising. It's just great to take in the effort and skill, and the appreciation of beautiful design.

Hi-Fi from bante on Vimeo.

music video for the upcoming concert season @ Bellavista Social Pub.
Director: Bante
DOP: L.Semplici
Hero: Moussa Kaba
producer: frisca
dog: ultimo
Produced by Filmatindustriali