Most Portlanders are unaware of the jazz playground that once existed in the part of town that is currently occupied by I-5, the Rose Garden and Memorial Coliseum. For years, Portland, Oregon provided a respite for jazz musicians touring from Seattle to Los Angeles. The bars that once lined Williams Avenue hosted impromptu jam sessions for these weary travelers, allowing them to relax and free form before the next series of whirlwind trips through big city jazz clubs.
The Stolen Sweets are reviving old time jazz in Portland by performing the vocal arrangements of New Orleans inamoratas, the Boswell Sisters, one of the hottest girl groups of the 1930s. The Stolen Sweets chose to memorialize the Boswells – or “Bossies,” as their jazz contemporary Jimmy Dorsey called them – because of their organic and gritty approach to vocal jazz, a genre often associated with polished, syrupy standards. The Boswells were famous for their tight three-part harmonies, subtle lyrical innuendo and dizzying tempo changes.
Though their repertoire consists primarily of jazz tunes, the Sweets’ musical approach and on-stage theatrics defy classification. NW Senior News notes, “The female members of the sextet each embodies a stage persona –¬ sassy to deadpan –¬ that, in their black period dresses, creates a playful, interactive dynamic with audiences.” Featured in publications ranging from community newspapers to the Willamette Week to The Oregonian’s A&E, the group obviously appeals to a wide array of live music connoisseurs.
The first of the Sweets’ North Portland appearances is a live recording on Friday, June 3 at 8:30pm at Mississippi Studios, a venue that is widely considered to be one of the best listening rooms in town. Complete with theater-style seating and dramatic red walls, the room will surely provide a befitting backdrop for The Stolen Sweets’ music, which incidentally originated in the racy vaudeville houses of New Orleans back in the 20s.
The second performance will take place on Friday, June 24 at 9:30pm at Portland’s legendary White Eagle Saloon. Internationally recognized as a hotbed for paranormal activity, the White Eagle is the perfect venue for reviving the ghosts of yesteryear –¬ musical or otherwise. A fixture in Portland’s rock n’ roll history, the White Eagle has been the subject of endless tall tales of unrelenting spirits, unexplained mischief and other mysterious goings-on.
Today the streets of North Portland are lined with thriving restaurants, bars and music venues. With Mississippi Studios and the White Eagle leading the way, North Portland has once again become a destination for Portland’s musicians and music lovers alike. The Stolen Sweets are proud to be a part of this long-awaited revival.
The Stolen Sweets www.stolensweets.com Booking and media inquiries: Jen Bernard email@example.com 503-231-1423
Mississippi Studios 3939 N. Mississippi Portland, OR 503-288-3895 www.mississippistudios.com
White Eagle Saloon 836 N. Russell Portland, OR 503-282-6810 www.mcmenamins.com