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The very best in Portland jazz

Now in its sixth year, Montavilla Jazz Festival (MJF) is a two-day festival that showcases the very best in original Portland jazz. While other festivals focus on international acts, legacy heavy hitters, or other mainstream jazz, MJF instead supports and strengthens local culture by highlighting the freshest, most exciting original compositions from Portland’s eclectic and vibrant jazz scene. Taking place annually at nonprofit performing arts space Portland Metro Arts, MJF offers Portlanders a unique and accessible way to join Portland’s finest musicians as they chart new frontiers in jazz.

MJF mission and background

The mission of Montavilla Jazz Festival is not only to bolster Portland’s dynamic jazz culture, but also to enrich the local community. Like the neighborhood that serves as its home, MJF is a progressive, diverse, locally minded event that offers Montavilla residents an opportunity to come together, form connections and plug into Portland jazz.

Built on neighborhood support

Both by and for the neighborhood, MJF relies on the contributions of local businesses and volunteers. Before a single ticket is sold, all the resources needed to present MJF are raised in the form of sponsor dollars and partner in-kind contributions. MJF is proud and grateful to be supported by more than 80 sponsors and partners. MJF is also entirely run by volunteers. More than 70 volunteers ensure that the festival weekend runs smoothly, while still more volunteers work on the festival throughout the year. From the food and drink vendors to the volunteer who takes your ticket, every aspect of MJF is infused with the spirit of the Montavilla neighborhood.

Making an impact in Montavilla

In 2015, in order to bolster music education in our schools, MJF created the Montavilla Schools Fund (MSMF). MJF earmarked a portion of each ticket sold at MJF 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 to this fund. Our four neighborhood public schools had the opportunity to apply for grants funded by these proceeds. In four grant cycles MJF has allocated $7500 for music education in Montavilla schools.

In 2019, MJF is transitioning away from the MSMF grant program in favor of developing jazz education initiatives in Montavilla schools. MJF recently completed its pilot program the Montavilla Jazz Artist-in-Residency at Vestal School, initiated by a 2018 MSMF grant. In the first months of 2019 Vestal students experienced how the sound and spirit of jazz are woven into the fabric of American life during six weeks with our Jazz Artist-in- Residence, Portland-based jazz saxophonist and educator, Mary-Sue Tobin.

Montavilla Jazz Artist-in-Residence

Montavilla Jazz Festival is expanding its programming beyond the annual summer festival to make a greater impact in our community by growing the audience for jazz and raising awareness about the cultural significance of America’s indigenous art form. The Montavilla Jazz Artist-in-Residence program takes 4th and 5th graders on an educational journey starting with the forced migration of African slaves. Over the six-week program they explore the mixing of European, African, and indigenous cultures that led to the birth of jazz, through the boom of popular music in America, up to the current day and the continuing influence of jazz on artists such as Cardi B and Bruno Mars. Read more…

Join us in support of our community!


MJF 2020 dates and location

When: Saturday and Sunday, August 15-16, 2020
Where: Portland Metro Arts, 9003 SE Stark, Portland, OR 97216


Board of Directors

Neil Mattson—Executive Director
Ryan Meagher—Programming Director
Aaron Hayman—Art Director
Nancy Mitchell—Secretary
Steve Mitchell—Treasurer

Resource Council

Hobie Bender—Bipartisan Cafe
Stephen E. Blackman—Brownstein Rask
Donna Cruz-Moreno—PROWUS

Lynn Darroch—PJCE
Douglas Detrick—PJCE
Todd Dennis—East Glisan Pizza Lounge
Pete Emerson—Bipartisan Cafe
Darrell Grant—Portland State University
Fritz Hirsch—MJF founder
Don Lucoff—DL Music Media
George Thorn—RACC

Support Team

Kim Gumble—communications coordinator
Kim Harrison—education coordinator
Jeremy Reynolds—volunteer coordinator
Amy Theberge—event coordinator
Mary-Sue Tobin—jazz artist-in-residence


David Biggs—lighting
Rick Gordon—sound engineer
David Kays—main stage manager
George Manley—front of house manager
Ryuu Joy—student stage manager


Steven Cantor
Daniel Flessas
Marcia Hocker
S. Renee Mitchell
Deborah DeMoss Smith


Tina Granzo—webmaster
Aaron Hayman—graphic designer
Kristin Thiel—editor


Kathryn Elsesser
Aaron Hayman
Diane Russell