Nick Fish Jazz Community Award

Montavilla Jazz establishes Nick Fish Jazz Community Award honoring the legacy of “Portland’s Jazz Commissioner” and names Portland drummer Ron Steen its inaugural recipient.

Montavilla Jazz establishes Nick Fish Jazz Community Award

In recognition of the enormous, enthusiastic contribution from Nick Fish to Portland’s jazz community, Montavilla Jazz will present the first-ever Nick Fish Jazz Community Award to drummer Ron Steen on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at the Alberta Rose Theatre at 8 pm as a prelude to Darrell Grant’s Piano in the Dark concert with special guest Billy Childs. This event takes place during the 10th Annual Montavilla Jazz Festival running September 1–3, 2023.

Here We Grow Mural photo by Neil Mattson

Portland’s Jazz Commissioner

Nick Fish, who passed away early in 2020, won many awards during his twelve years on the Portland City Council, including the Angel Award from White Bird, the Community Partner Award from Metropolitan Youth Symphony, and the McClendon Makarounis Award for Jazz Advocacy from PDX Jazz. He raised funds for and attended the Mount Hood Jazz Festival, PDX Jazz Festival, and Montavilla Jazz Festival in addition to Jazz concerts in Portland parks, despite a schedule that limited his ability to attend these events. Recognizing that he was a champion for the Jazz community, he was given the title of “Portland’s Jazz Commissioner” by veteran Jazz Radio Host and current Montavilla Jazz board member, Marcia Hocker.
Read Marcia Hocker’s profile of Commissioner Fish here.
Here We Grow Mural photo by Neil Mattson

In Service of Community

Portland Radio Host, writer, and jazz historian, Lynn Darroch’s recognizes drummer Ron Steen’s impact on the local jazz ecosystem, “a community he helps to sustain through the jam sessions he has led without interruption for 40 years.
“Portland has a remarkably active jazz scene for a city of its size and distance from the centers of cultural power. And though he is quick to deflect attention from his achievements and credit his colleagues, Ron Steen has played a leading role in maintaining that status.
Because at the heart of every vibrant jazz scene is a jam session — a place where established musicians can try new things and interact with peers, while younger and aspiring players can test their readiness and learn from experienced artists.
“And every successful session needs a leader like Steen, who knows the community and whose voice is respected. The sessions he leads — currently three a week — are a model of inclusivity and an opportunity”
Steen is already the recipient of a “Portland Jazz Master” award from PDX Jazz in 2021, is a member of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame, and was named the 2020 Portland Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalists Association.
Read Lynn Darroch’s full profile of Ron Steen here.

Award Presentation

Award will precede:
Darrell Grant’s Piano in the Dark with special guest Billy Childs
Saturday, September 2, 2023, 8:00 PM
Alberta Rose Theatre (3000 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211)
Tickets $5-45 with discounts for advance purchases, students, and Arts for All available.

Concert description:
Chasing the magic of the unexpected, Darrell Grant curates ephemeral encounters at and beyond the keyboard melding tradition and innovation.

Artists performing:
Darrell Grant, Billy Childs, Andre Raiah, Rebecca Sanborn, Jasnam Daya Singh, and Yawa, keyboards

For the love of jazz: Commissioner Nick Fish's lasting legacy

By Marcia K. Hocker

The late Commissioner Nick Fish said, “I have always believed that government can be society’s greatest force for good and that together we can do amazing things. As a member of the Council, I have insisted that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts, and I have focused on partnership, collaboration and shared success.” Read more.

Ron Steen: In service to the community

By Lynn Darroch

In 1983, the jazz drummer and bandleader Ron Steen defined his entire career in one sentence: “The only goal I have,” he said, “is to play some honest, true music.” And he has, whether on the road with jazz legends such as Joe Henderson and Woody Shaw, or in Portland with visiting artists that have included 20th century masters Dexter Gordon, Bobby Hutcherson, and Eddie Harris. Read more.

2023 Festival Events

Presented by Accelerator Design Studios

Friday 9/1

Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra Combo
MJF Student Stage at Vino Veritas – 4:00PM
Vestal Stories: Mary-Sue Tobin Sextet
Mt. Tabor Park Amphitheater – 6:00PM
Views of an Urban Volcano with Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble
Mt. Tabor Park Amphitheater – 7:30PM
Charlie 3rown Quartet
The 1905 – 11:30PM

Saturday 9/2

George Colligan: The Phyllis Wheatley Project featuring Zyanna
Portland Metro Arts – 2:00PM
Ryan Meagher, Ralph Alessi, Peter Epstein, and Mark Ferber
Portland Metro Arts – 5:00PM
Mt. Hood Community College Jazz Combo
MJF Student Stage at Vino Veritas – 6:00PM
Darrell Grant's Piano in the Dark with special guest Billy Childs
Alberta Rose Theatre – 8:00PM
Nicole McCabe Quartet
The 1905 – 11:30PM

Sunday 9/3

Domo Branch and Branchin’ Out
Portland Metro Arts – 2:00PM
Jam Session by Alan Jones Academy of Music
The 1905 - 4:00PM
Tim Willcox Quartet featuring Chuck Israels
Portland Metro Arts – 5:00PM
Portland State University Combo
MJF Student Stage at Vino Veritas – 6:00PM
Alan Jones Quartet featuring Tivon Pennicott, Kevin Hays and Joe Martin
Alberta Rose Theatre – 8:00PM
Frank Irwin's Aurora Septet
The 1905 – 11:00PM