Blazers, Urban League host jazz tribute to North Portland community

Press release:

Trail Blazers, Urban League Host Jazz Tribute to North Portland Community

Jazz legend Sweet Baby James will headline musical celebration

Portland, Ore. – In celebration of Black History Month, the Portland Trail Blazers and Urban League will host a musical tribute to north Portland’s jazz and cultural heritage this Friday, February 5.

The event celebrates the musical history of the neighborhood detailed in Robert Dietsche’s “Jump Town: The Golden Years of Portland Jazz,” a book that inspired the working title for the Trail Blazers proposed Rose Quarter project.

What: A musical tribute to N. Portland’s Jazz Heritage

Who: Sweet Baby James and other artists

Where: Northeast Multi-Cultural Senior Center (5325 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd)

When: Friday, Feb. 5, 6-9 p.m.

The special evening will feature timeless music performed live by Sweet Baby James and an all-star band; King Louis & Baby will also perform. The evening will serve as a perfect setting for the Trail Blazers “JumpTown” project team to engage with a community touched by the music of greats like Louis Jordan, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong at eastside clubs like the Dude Ranch, Chicken Coup, and Lil’ Sandy’s.

“A celebration of this neighborhood’s indelible legacy is a fitting Black History Month tribute,” Trail Blazers President Larry Miller said. “The music that once played on Portland’s eastside is an enduring symbol of Portland’s African-American culture, and we look forward to finding inspiration from the stories of the people who lived that history.”

The festivities will start at 6:00 p.m., with a swinging music set by vocalist Sweet Baby James, Louis Pain on B-3 Hammond organ, Renato Caranto on saxophone, Eddie Martinez on guitar, and Micah Kassell on drums.

Sweet Baby James, considered by many a living legend, continues to make great music with some of Portland’s best musicians and play for audiences who appreciate live music. Dancing, refreshments, history, and more music will round out a great evening.

The Trail Blazers are seeking to create a new, vibrant district in the Rose Quarter that’s accessible to Portlanders from all walks of life. “JumpTown,” is an eastside entertainment district that would host about 150 free events annually and foster a connection among existing neighborhoods. The project plan includes a revitalized Memorial Coliseum, a covered plaza, restaurants, clubs, retail and residential space as well as a possible hotel and Nike presence. More information is available at


The Northeast Multi-Cultural Senior Center, operated by Portland’s Urban League, serves as a gathering place for many Portlanders who experienced first-hand the music and culture of N. Williams’ post-war renaissance.

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