Portland Piano Legend Janice Scroggins Dies

OPB | May 28, 2014 12:03 a.m. | Updated: May 28, 2014 2:33 p.m. | Portland

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Janice Scroggins has died. The Portland piano legend was a master of blues, gospel and jazz styles.

Scroggins moved to Portland in the late 70s from Oklahoma. A pianist since early childhood, she won fans as part of the classic soul band, The Esquires.

Fudge / Flying Heart Records

Over the years, she performed with Thara Memory, Curtis Salgado, Obo Addy, and frequently teamed up with her longtime friend, the blues singer Linda Hornbuckle.

In her 1987 solo album, Scroggins took on Scott Joplin’s works in a stately, deliberate stride style.  That was in sharp contrast to the jaunty way Joplin’s works are traditionally performed.

Despite her reputation as a sterling side player, Scroggins was drawing audiences as a solo performer well into her 50s, as recently as a March concert for the Portland Jazz Festival.

She was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

The original version of this story incorrectly stated the release date of the artist’s recording, Janice Scroggins Plays Scott Joplin. The record was released in 1987. The story also incorrectly identified an honor for Scroggins. She played on a Grammy-winning album released by Esperanza Spalding.

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