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Swinging Into Spring: Jazz at the Oxford

The Oxford Hotel gets into the jazz scene with a new series.

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Marshall Glickman digs jazz. And when it comes to listening to it live, he prefers that experience to be in an intimate club setting.

Those are but two of the motivations behind Glickman deciding to organize and promote, in conjunction with Combined Communications, a series of jazz performances by topflight musicians at the Oxford Hotel starting in mid-January and concluding in late March.

But even more so than a love for the music, great players and being in a club-like setting, Glickman's primary motivation for putting the series together was, " to have something to do after a dinner date with my wife, Lisa. There's plenty to do in the evening around Bend for people in their twenties and thirties, but not much for the older crowd."

And so the Oxford jazz series came into being. It will offer a club-like setting in the hotel's ballroom, complete with sit-down-at-a-table-with-waitress/waiter-service ambiance. And while adults are the primary audience for the shows, kids will be welcome.

The series begins on MLK weekend (Jan. 14-16) with The Mel Brown Quartet. Brown has backed the who's who of jazz greats on drums and has been a driving force in Portland's jazz scene for years.

Appearing with Brown will be the brilliant young pianist Tony Pacini, versatile guitarist Dan Balmer and bassist Ed Bennett, on Presidents Day weekend (Feb. 18-20), sax player Patrick Lamb brings a group to the stage. A popular sideman for major recording artists, Lamb is, as Glickman puts it, "a showman who plays straight ahead material fused with funk touches."

Next up on the last weekend of Oregon spring break (March 26-27) will be pop jazz legend Tom Grant. Over May's Memorial Day weekend (27-29), longtime Portland go-to drummer Ron Steen will lead a group that will include a vocalist.

"Hopefully, this series will sustain itself and eventually it will provide a venue for some of our incredible local jazz talent to be part of the scene as opening acts as well as augment the monthly concerts put on by Just Joe's Music at the Cascades Theatrical Company," says Glickman. --- Bob Woodward

Tickets for the series are on sale at Bendticket.com.

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