Starting every Wednesday in July, the South Portland Business Association is one of a few local sponsors helping Portland Parks & Rec bring Willamette Park a free concert by a local talent! Featuring rockabilly, swing, Cajun folk, and other danceable genres, the Willamette Park Summer Concert Series is a guaranteed fun way to beat the heat!
South Portland Business Association has also brought in a free valet parking service to not only free up traffic, but help you get to the front row faster!
Darrell Grant: Jazz Piano Professor
Wednesday, July 7th @ 6:30
Darrell Grant, performer, composer and PSU professor, has built an international reputation as a stellar pianist and versatile musician. A gifted artist whose four previous recordings have topped jazz charts, Darrell explores the lyricism and soul of songs with beauty, joy and passion. He has appeared on major concert stages from the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall to the Monterey, Telluride and San Francisco Jazz Festivals. He has been a guest on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” on NPR and toured internationally with many jazz legends.
The Stolen Sweets: 30’s Swing Jazz Confections
Wednesday, July 15th @ 6:30
The Stolen Sweets formed in 2004 with the intention of reviving the songs of 1930s sister act, The Boswell Sisters. Comprised of vocalists Jen Bernard, Lara Michell and Erin Sutherland, guitarists Pete Krebs and David Langenes (both of whom sing) and double bass player Keith Brush, The Sweets’ repertoire has expanded to include material from the 1920s-1940s. Their arrangements are still inspired by the Boswells’ tight 3-part harmonies, frequent tempo changes and “knowing shrugs and raised eyebrows,” as noted by the Oregonian’s A&E. Unlike the original Boswell arrangements that featured piano, clarinet, and horns, the Sweets incorporate gypsy jazz accompaniment, reminiscent of Django Reinhardt. The nature of the music was auspicious and good-humored, providing a ray of hope to listeners during a truly dispiriting economic depression. The Sweets stay busy playing club gigs, private events and festivals all over the Northwest, as well as New Orleans, Europe, and beyond. They strive to keep these vintage tunes alive, transporting a wide array of listeners to the early days of jazz.
Bon Ton Roulet: The Northwest’s Zydeco Connection
Wednesday, July 22nd @ 6:30
Bon Ton Roulet grooves high-energy zydeco, cajun, and folk together in the heart of the Willamette Valley bayou, OR. The conception of this band occurred while plunking the guitar, squeezing the box, rubbin the ole washboard, and drinking homebrew on many Corvallis porches. We love to play at parties, breweries, weddings, festivals, and generally wherever folks like to dance to zydeco. Laissez le bon temps roulet!
The Strange Tones: Crime-a-billy Crooners
Wednesday, July 29th @ 6:30
The magic of The Strange Tones is fueled by four players who are equally compelled and driven to advance their cause. This fearsome foursome, led by the husband-and-wife team of Guitar Julie and bassist Andy Strange, and fortified by longtime partners guitarist Suburban Slim and drummer Andy Gauthier, form “….one of Portland’s most original and accomplished bands.” – Oregonian. It may be Andy Strange’s lessons learned as bassman for legendary wildman and voodoo practitioner Screamin‘ Jay Hawkins, or Guitar Julie’s steady childhood diet of Jimmy Reed and Ike and Tina Turner. It could be Andy Gauthier‘s deep groove and flair as a well respected “drummer’s drummer”, or Slim’s intensity and creativity that consistently earn him recognition. As anyone who sees The Strange Tones perform live knows, it’s much more than these four individuals….this is a BAND. And on special occasions for large stage venues, they bring out a unique and secret weapon, the Volcano Vixens. Vivian and Vera are strikingly talented dancers and choreographers who have created the perfect steps to compliment the band’s sonic crime fighting sound.