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About Us

The mission of PDX Jazz is to evolve the art of jazz by engaging our community, celebrating live performance, and enhancing arts education.

PDX Jazz, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, is the largest organization presenting jazz performances and associated education programming in the Pacific Northwest. Grown out of the African American tradition, jazz is uniquely American in its origin. We present a two-week, multi-venue citywide jazz festival each February celebrating Black History Month that includes ticketed and free performances, films, artist conversations, lectures, masterclasses, exhibitions, and jam sessions; flanked by year-round seasonal concerts.

Our education programs fill the gap of reduced funding, and in many instances no funding for arts education. We provide learning opportunities to under-served and under-represented students in the greater Portland area and surrounding communities, with a focus on Title 1A funded schools. These education programs extend across the entire student body, emphasizing an interdisciplinary appreciation of jazz and its African American roots from a historical, sociological, and cultural perspective.

We continue to evolve, grow, and expand our presentations and education programs.

The Portland Jazz Master

The Portland Jazz Master recognizes a regional artist or other jazz community member for their work and contributions to jazz in the Portland region. The Jazz Master nominee may be in any career phase, allowing PDX Jazz to recognize and support upcoming talent, or, to honor those who have been staples in the jazz community for many years. The PDX Jazz Programming Committee selects the Portland Jazz Master.

Recipients include Dave Frishberg, Thara Memory, Nancy King, Oregon, Wayne Thompson, Charles Gray, Mel Brown, Art Abrams, Darrell Grant, Rebecca Kilgore, and Ron Steen.

Congratulations to Chuck Israels, the 2022 Portland Jazz Master!

The McClendon/Makarounis Award
for Excellence in Jazz

The McClendon/Makarounis Award for Excellence in Jazz is given to a member of the Portland community who has made significant contributions to the prosperity, preservation, and advancement of jazz music and culture in Portland. The McClendon-Makarounis Award for Excellence in Jazz is a PDX Jazz board initiative.

Recipients include Wayne Thompson, Bea Eidsness, Jim Pepper, Bob Dietsche, Akbar DePriest, the family of Jimmy Makarounis, Marcia Hocker, and Commissioner Nick Fish.

Copyright 2020 PDX Jazz | A 501(c)(3) nonprofit cultural arts organization.