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Acclaimed Portland bassist kicks off downtown's newest jazz showcase

Friesen will be accompanied by saxophonist John Gross, a jazz educator in Portland, who's juggled three bands of his own (Threeplay, Belma Bii, and Saxophobia) with sideman work for Friesen and others.

For Singer, the Friesen/Gross shows are just the beginning of some big plans. On February 25, he's putting on a smoke-free, all-star jam session at the Rhythm Room, as a tribute to the Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts and records organized in the '40s in L.A. by Norman Granz. Granz, the founder of Verve Records, and one of jazz's greatest business champions, died last November. It's easy to see his work as a model for what Singer, an activist involved in furthering the prospects for women in jazz, and jazz on the radio, would hope to achieve.

"The Jazz at the Philharmonic shows were really important," Singer says. "He was so instrumental, not only in the jazz world, but also when it came to breaking down segregation. He absolutely refused to stay in segregated hotels. So he broke a lot of ice."

David Friesen: A Portland bass master who'll play a series of local gigs this weekend at various venues.
David Friesen: A Portland bass master who'll play a series of local gigs this weekend at various venues.

Details

Scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, February 7, at Modified Arts; 6 p.m. Saturday, February 9, at the Rhythm Room; and 8 p.m. Sunday, February 10, at the Famous Door in Scottsdale

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