PSU Jazz ‘Find Your Voice’ concert: John Patitucci

Students and faculty perform with jazz legend

On Friday, Jan. 27, Portland State’s Jazz department hosted the “Find Your Voice” concert, featuring renowned bassist John Patitucci. The two-hour show was held in the Lincoln Performance Hall and opened with PSU faculty, among them Jeff Baker and Darrell Grant, playing a set of opening songs before introducing Patitucci, who then played with both the PSU student Jazz Band and the student Jazz Trio. All three performances were excellent, faculty and students alike playing tremendously and many performers taking solos to showcase their resounding abilities.

Brooklyn-born Patitucci has been making waves in the international jazz scene since the early 1980s and has won numerous awards, including a Grammy. His music boasts a wide range of eclectic influences, ranging from classical music to the indigenous rhythms of Uruguay, which became very prevalent in his performance on Friday. Patitucci has played with a huge number of influential jazz musicians, among them Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis, to name a few. He has continued to be very involved in music education and voiced his support numerous times throughout the show.

The show’s final act consisted of John Patitucci playing both upright and electric bass, with PSU’s own George Colligan on piano and Chris Brown on drums. The trio played original music by both Patitucci and Colligan. The three were in monumental harmony, despite it being their first time playing together (or so they claimed), and the trance of the crowd was palpable as the musicians brought the show to an energetic resolution. Brown’s drumming held the rhythm with flare and skill on an unbelievable level, while the interplay of melodies laid down by Colligan and Patitucci mixed and interacted with poise. The show encapsulated why live music is worth seeing: energy, harmony, and feeling, remarkable even in a genre already known for these qualities.  

To say that the synergy of PSU faculty playing along with a legend such as Patitucci was worth seeing would be a massive understatement; the show was truly spectacular, and PSU was incredibly fortunate to host such a prestigious guest.

[below shield]The PSU Jazz Department hosts regular shows and masterclasses, which are listed on the School of Music’s events page. If you are interested in jazz, or music in general, we highly recommend checking them out.