Welcome to Portland’s Jazz Bridge Project 2011

Posted on August 22, 2011


Welcome to Portland’s  Jazz Bridge Project!!

For almost 100 years jazz music has been building bridges and connecting cultures across the globe.  From the Voice of America broadcasts of the 1950’s, to the historic State Department tours of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Dizzy Gillespie, to ground-breaking visits by jazz artists to China and the Soviet Union, jazz has opened the doors of dialogue and reached across borders, languages and cultures to create goodwill.

What is Portland’s  “Jazz Bridge Project”?

Our Jazz Bridge Project is a cultural exchange between Portland and its sister city, Khabarovsk (KHV) in the Russian Far East.  The Project is a collaboration between Portland-Khabarovsk Sister City Association (PKSCA) and The Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute. Portland State University.

In October 2010, seven artists and students from Portland’s sister city of Khabarovsk, Russia visited Oregon.  They sat in on classes, performed concerts, jammed in clubs, visited schools and generously shared their culture and their music with us in Portland. Both sides were inspired by our interaction and its future possibilities.   Their residency resulted in an invitation from the Mayor of Khabarovsk to Portland to bring a similar delegation to their city to perform, teach, present and meet with local educators and cultural leaders.

More than just a trip

A delegation of five Portland jazz performer/educators and four PSU students will travel to Khabarovsk from December 12 -December 22, 2011. The group will serve as volunteer ambassadors from the Pacific Northwest – presenting public concerts, giving presentations about jazz history, offering workshops and clinics at colleges, and local music schools, and interacting with members of the local and regional arts community.  They will also engage the Khabarovsk community, sharing knowledge and resources, gathering information and forging connections that will make a difference in lives of those in both places.

The deeper purpose of  “Portland’s Jazz Bridge Project” is to explore the possibility of: building meaningful, ongoing connections between communities using the arts as a bridge?

Why Jazz?

Portland’s rich and vibrant jazz heritage is well documented.  Jazz helped shape the social and cultural fabric of our city and continues to enrich its quality of life in numerous ways.  Home to internationally acclaimed performing artists, nationally recognized education programs, an award-winning jazz festival, several notable venues, numerous jazz organizations and appreciative audiences, Portland is the envy of many an American city.

How might we then be enriched by actively sharing this wealth of resources?   Can they help forge a connection- not between governments, or corporations, but between people?  And might some of the benefits that we enjoy create possibilities for those far beyond our geographic boundaries, while enriching us with new experiences and insights from abroad.

To this end, Portland’s Jazz Bridge Project has two additional components: A Community Cultural Initiative and a Goodwill Initiative

The Jazz Bridge Community Cultural Initiative  seeks to harnesses the support and goodwill of our community to share the best of Portland with Khabarovsk, and provide meaningful resources to their jazz education efforts.  Through community participation, volunteers and fundraising, we are pursuing the following six cultural and educational projects. See a description of the projects here.

The Jazz Bridge Goodwill Initiative that seeks to share information, resources and expertise to develop long-term initiatives between Portland and Khabarovsk.  Projects currently under discussion include:

Assistance in developing of the first college audio engineering program in the Russian far east at Khabarovsk Territorial College of Arts.  We would offer technical assistance and donated studio equipment from the Portland music community.

The creation of a school that will make music education available to the many underserved youth in Khabarovsk.  We would connect Khabarovsk with the experience and expertise of Portland’s thriving non- profit music education community.

How can you be involved?

Support Us

The Jazz Bridge artists must fundraise their own airfare to Khabarovsk.  You can join the 200 Friends of the Jazz Bridge with a tax free donation of $50 to Portland-Khabarovsk Sister City Association to support our fundraising effort.  Donate here


Join us at The Old Church on October 27th for the “Bridge to Russia” celebration.  Hear a performance by Portland’s Jazz Bridge artists – Darrell Grant, Alan Jones, Marilyn Keller, Scott Hall, Charley Gray and special guests including a premiere of the “Amur Suite”  Enjoy Russian hors d’ouvres and folk music. More information here

Learn More

Follow our path to Khabarovsk on our blog, on Facebook and Twitter

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