On February 14, OPB will premiere an Oregon Art Beat special “Masters of Jazz: The Next Generation,” which profiles Thara Memory, an acclaimed Portland-based jazz trumpeter and teacher to some very talented musicians in the Northwest who have taken the jazz world by storm, including Esperanza Spalding.

This half-hour special explores the work Memory has undertaken to encourage the next generation of jazz musicians, including founding the American Music Program, a nationally recognized magnet school that educates seventh to twelfth grade students in American jazz music.

“Thara Memory is one of many talented professionals working to shape the future of Portland’s jazz community,” said Jessica Martin, executive producer of Oregon Art Beat. “We are thrilled to bring our viewers a special, inside look into how he has contributed to the rise of a thriving jazz scene – and importantly – the elevation of women in jazz.”

Delving into the relationship between mentor and mentee, “Masters of Jazz” features an interview with Spalding, who describes her experiences working with Memory from a young age and the impact his instruction and approach had on her while studying under his tutelage. 

Along with Spalding, Art Beat interviews another of Memory’s former students, Hailey Niswanger, a professional alto and soprano saxophonist from West Linn. Additionally, Charles Brown III, an up-and-coming high school pianist from NE Portland, provides his perspective as a current student in the American Music Program. During the special, viewers also get a closer look inside Memory’s classroom, where he rigorously prepares young musicians for some of the top performing arts colleges in the country and gives them a deeper understanding of the art of jazz.

The special also includes performances by Spalding, Niswanger and others who were part of the August 2012 “Divas of Jazz” concert benefitting the American Music Program — a cause taking them back to their roots.

The Oregon Art Beat “Masters of Jazz” special premieres Thursday, February 14 at 8:00 p.m. on OPB TV. It comes on the heels of the 2013 Grammy Awards, where Spalding and Memory are nominated together for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists” for their “City of Roses” track on Spalding’s Radio Music Society. The same album produced by Spalding is also nominated for “Best Jazz Album” and “Best Long Form Music Video.”

For more information, please visit www.opb.org/artbeat. Videos of the stories featured on Oregon Art Beat are available at http://watch.opb.org/program/oregon-art-beat/ and http://www.opb.org/programs/artbeat/

Follow Oregon Art Beat on Facebook at facebook.com/OregonArtBeat  

Press Note: Photos related to the special are available for download at the OPB Pressroom (user name: opbpressroom; password: photoop).



About Oregon Art Beat

 Oregon Art Beat, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Emmy Award-winning local arts series, is in its 14th season. Art Beat profiles Northwest artists, musicians and artisans — from an operatic baritone to a bit-and-spur craftsman to everything in between. The program airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1 a.m. and 6 p.m. In the Mountain Time Zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9 p.m. Thursdays and repeats at 7 p.m. on Sundays. Support for Oregon Art Beat is provided by the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, the Robert D. and Marcia H. Randall Charitable Trust, the Kinsman Foundation, the Roundhouse Foundation and U.S. Bank/U.S. Bancorp Foundation. More information is available online at opb.org/artbeat.

About OPB 

 OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by members across Oregon and Southwest Washington.