Pianist-composer George Cables is back for the Jazz Port Townsend festival this week. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Pianist-composer George Cables is back for the Jazz Port Townsend festival this week. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Jazz Port Townsend begins tonight

PORT TOWNSEND — Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend festival starts tonight with Jazz in the Clubs, an assemblage of shows at Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way, and continues there with activities and mainstage concerts through Saturday.

Jazz in the Clubs used to happen at downtown bars and other venues, but it was moved last year to the fort, where listeners of all ages can get into the shows.

Tonight, music will flow from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in three fort venues. Performers include clarinetist Anat Cohen with baritone saxman Gary Smulyan and pianist Dawn Clement in Building 204; vocalist Gillian Margot with trumpeter Marquis Hill, bassist Vicente Archer, drummer Matt Wilson and piano man Randy Halberstadt in the Commons; and Jazz Port Townsend workshop combos in the USO Hall.

The all-day Friday Workshop Blowout, free to the public, includes master classes and clinics with professional musicians who’ve been teaching workshops this week. These include Halberstadt’s “Wrapping Your Ears around a Tune” at 9 a.m. in the fort’s Wheeler Theater.

“Bring your vocal cords, even if you think you can’t sing,” Halberstadt writes in the program.

Also free on Friday: bandleader Clarence Acox Jr. and the Jazz Port Townsend Workshop Participant Big Band on the Commons lawn at noon.

Jazz in the Clubs wristbands are $25 per night, while the mainstage concerts at McCurdy Pavilion range from $28 to $56, with free tickets for music lovers 18 and younger.

Information and tickets are available via centrum.org and 800-746-1982.


Diane Urbani de la Paz, a former features editor for the Peninsula Daily News, is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.

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