PORT TOWNSEND — Cool jazz may be the antidote for another warm day in Jefferson County today as the state’s largest summer jazz festival gets under way in the city.
Jazz Port Townsend, a four day celebration of straight-ahead jazz, begins in several downtown clubs tonight before the jazz heats up Friday at Fort Worden State Park.
The event is also serving as a tribute to the late Ray Brown, a legendary jazz bassist initially scheduled to perform at the festival.
Brown died in Indiana on July 2.
Brown’s protégé, bassist John Clayton, will perform with remaining members of the Ray Brown trio Saturday night. The performance will include a “multi-bass choir” written in tribute to Brown.
Brown — who played with giants like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and was once married to Ella Fitzgerald — will also be included in the “Legends and Young Lions II” photo exhibit Saturday and Sunday at McCurdy Pavilion.
Meanwhile, jazz was alive and well Wednesday at the week-long Bud Shank Jazz Workshop at Fort Worden State Park where Brown once taught.
More than 220 students — including nearly half who were under 18 — developed their chops in small groups led by instructors, many of whom are performing in the festival.
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