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Outstanding Portland Musicians Featured On Jazz Northwest

Thara Memory

Portland trumpet player and educator Thara Memory passed June 16 in Portland at the age of 68. The Florida-born musician was much loved and honored in his adopted city where he lived since the '80s, playing with the Mel Brown Quintet, leading his own groups and teaching generations of jazz musicians. He launched the jazz program at Portland State University and his American Music Program Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra  surprised everyone when they won the Essentially Ellington competition in New York City in 2015.  

One of his best known students was Esperanza Spalding who shared a Grammy with Thara Memory for the arrangement of the song "City of Roses" celebrating Portland.  On this program we'll hear Thara Memory with his own band and the Grammy-winning recording with Esperanza Spalding.  

Pianist, singer and songwriter Dave Frishberg has also been a resident of Portland since the late '80s when he first played some gigs there after years living and working in New York City and Los Angeles.  During his career he has written dozens of songs including "Peel Me A Grape," "I'm Hip," "My Attorney Bernie," "Blizzard of Lies," " Van Lingle Mungo," and of course, "The Dear Departed Past" which adapted, became the title of his autobiography which has just been published.  Each chapter is prefaced by the title and lyrics of one of his songs, so of course we'll hear a couple of them on this show to celebrate the publication of the book by BackBeat Books.  

Also on this program are some samples of  artists who will appear at the Vancouver and Victoria B.C. International Jazz Festivals which run the last week of June through July 2, along with other Canadian jazz festivals.  Abe Beeson will represent KNKX this year in Vancouver. His preview may be seen at

Eseranza Spalding and Thara Memory at The Grammy Awards in 2013.
Eseranza Spalding and Thara Memory at The Grammy Awards in 2013.

Jazz Northwest airs each Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Pacific on 88.5 KNKX and streams at  The program is produced by Jim Wilke. Next week (7/2) will present highlights from the final concert of the season for the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, featuring Christian McBride on bass, playing his compositions and arrangements with the SRJO.  This concert is already on some best-of-the-year lists. 

Jim has been a fixture on Seattle radio since 1961. He was the host of Jazz After Hours on Public Radio International from 1984-2014. Currently Jim has been producing Jazz Northwest for KNKX since 1988. This weekly program focuses on the regional jazz scene and frequently includes performances Jim records on location for Jazz Northwest.