Contributor: Brian Brown, in between shifts at the Archives & Records Division of the Auditor’s Office for the City of Portland as the Digital Records Repository administrator, makes time for crate digging, and improving his jump shot.
Portland Jazz seems to be in the midst of a revival. Despite the closing earlier this year of Jimmy Mak’s, Portland’s most famous jazz venue since the 1990s, several venues are now offering jazz music on a regular if not nightly basis.
830 North Shaver St
Portland, OR 97227
Amongst the best newer venues with a full schedule of Jazz is The 1905. Nestled just off of Mississippi Ave in North Portland, at The 1905 you can enjoy a custom pizza, or just drinks, to the sounds of Portland’s best musical improvisers. Head out to the patio between sets, or you can visit the portrait studio just past the band space and capture the smile on your happy face. There’s no cover, but there is a tip line on your bill for the musicians—please be generous.
1801 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
Solae’s Lounge on Alberta Ave in North Portland offers music-seekers that experience of the friendly neighborhood music spot. Solae’s tends to get going late on the weekends, but going it does get. There’s a good chance you might strike up a conversation with a local jazz hero when ordering at the bar. For desert, I recommend the bowl-served peach cobbler.
The Blue Diamond
2016 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97232
Just a holler southwest from where the storied Chicken Coop (aka Sid’s Nest, d. 1958) used to be sits the Blue Diamond. The LP covers above the bar signal well to this venue’s old-school warmth and relaxed charm. The Blue Diamond features jazz and blues, but there’s something good playing every night. You can dance, too.
Wilf’s Restaurant & Piano Bar
800 NW 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
A Portland institution since 1975, Wilf’s, next to Union Station, makes the argument that jazz music is best presented in the context of a fine dining experience. With Jazz on the schedule most nights, you can lively up your palette at the same time as your ears. Why not order the Steak Diane Flambé while you’re there?
To find out about jazz happenings in the Portland area do check out: