Performer Descriptions

About the Jazz Festival

The Jazz Society of Oregon’s Cathedral Park Jazz Festival 2017 lineup will include:

Veteran Portland vocalist Shirley Nanette will pay tribute to the late Ernestine Anderson, in a quartet setting featuring tenor star Renato Caranto.

Harmonica wizard and international Tango artist, Joe Powers, celebrates the music of his mentor Toots Thielemans. This set will include the tango music for which Joe is highly acclaimed.

Another first for Portland audiences will be vocalist Michael Beatzilla Whitmore & The Store of Funk. Whitmore, together with drummer Brian Foxworth, have just recorded with the legendary band, Pleasure. A horn-driven blend of jazz, rock, soul, funk and R&B will introduce their immensely danceable music as the Sunday night closer.

Saturday night’s closer will be the ever popular Ural Thomas & The Pain. Ural Thomas topped the soul charts in the 1960s, and a group of young Portland musicians brought him back to the live music scene in Portland. This will be a showcase for vintage soul and funk. Ural Thomas & The Pain will have you on your feet.

In an attempt to provide a “little something for everyone,” we will be presenting the hot, retro swing group, The Midnight Serenaders. Devotees of the music of “The Jazz Age,” The Midnight Serenaders have added a Hawaiian tinge with the inclusion of ukulele and Hawaiian steel guitar.

Big band enthusiasts will be delighted with the inclusion of the Ezra Weiss Big Band. Composer-pianist Ezra Weiss leads one of the most popular big bands ever formed in Portland.

The Bylines Quartet: The songwriting duo of Marianna Thielen and Reece Marshburn form the core of The Bylines. Marianna, the sultry song stylist, and Reece, the lyrical pianist, bring sophisticate, jazz-inspired, and story-driven tunes to the bandstand. The result is pure entertainment.

Clay Giberson Quartet: Pianist Clay Giberson is one of the most sought after sidemen in Portland. Here we’ll see him in a quartet setting, where his original writing style is showcased. Clay has a sensitive and introverted approach to jazz and is the consummate modern player who is not afraid to soar.

Making his Portland debut will be Grammy nominated Cuban pianist Manuel Valera. Born and raised in Havana, Manuel will be bringing his trio of bassist Rick Rosato and drummer EJ Strickland to Cathedral Park. A recipient of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, Manuel Valera’s music contains elements of jazz, R&B, Latin Jazz and Funk.

Saturday and Sunday will open with youth bands. Saturday’s festivities get underway with the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band. Sunday’s music begins with the Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra’s Vanguard Alumni Band.

Calling All Jazz Lovers!


The Jazz Society of Oregon Needs You!

We’re looking volunteers to help us with a variety of jobs supporting the local jazz community:

  • Fundraising, grant writing
  • Events coordination
  • Sponsor liaison
  • Membership support
  • Education committee
  • Volunteer support

Contact our volunteer coordinator to find out how you can contribute to your local jazz community.