pdxJazz Festival Presents
Burrell/Coltrane Collaboration
Dan Balmer & Javon Jackson
Monday, 22 February 2016
Jimmy Mak's, Portland








Dan Balmer / Guitar
Javon Jackson / Saxophone
Tony Pacini / Piano
Ed Bennett / Bass
Mel Brown / Drums

Dan Balmer

Dan Balmer is a true musical native gem. He is one of only five people to be members of both The Oregon Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame and is the youngest of the honorees. In addition to appearing on over 80 CD's, Balmer has released eight albums under his own name. Balmer's notoriety as a musician took off in the 1980s and 1990s, partnering with renowned Portland pianist Tom Grant. He performs weekly with his own band and with drummer Mel Brown at Jimmy Maks, and continues to collaborate with bassist David Friesen. Balmer, who heads the jazz program at Lewis & Clark College, has played the festival in multiple situations, most recently in tribute to Jim Hall and prior with the Jazz Passengers.

Javon Jackson

Tenor Saxophonist Javon Jackson came into international prominence touring and recording with the legendary drummer Art Blakey as a member of his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Symbolizing a new generation of musicians that blended tradition with neo-jazz, Jackson went on to release 14 recordings as a band leader and tour and record over 135 CDs with jazz greats including Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Betty Carter, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, Donald Byrd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Richard Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, Curtis Fuller, JoAnne Brackeen, Stanley Turrentine, and Ben E. King.

In live performances, The Javon Jackson Band is joined by special guest Les McCann, the iconic soul jazz pianist, vocalist and composer. Known as one of the godfathers of soul jazz, Les is recognized as a founding force for the genre known as funky jazz established in the mid 1960's.

In addition to his performance schedule, Javon Jackson is a highly sought after jazz educator, conducting clinics and lectures at universities throughout the United States and abroad. He served as Assistant Professor of Jazz at Long Island University (NY)1996-1998, and in the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College (NY) 1999-2007. In 2013, Javon accepted the position of Director of the Jackie McLean Institute at the University of Hartford.

Also, Javon currently serves as a Jazz Panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. He is also a member of JEN (Jazz Education Network) and lends support as JENerations Jazz Festival Artist and Clinician Coordinator. Jackson has a Bachelor in Music from the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) and a Master of Music from State University of New York College at Purchase.

Tony Pacini

Born in Tokyo, Japan (May, 1970), while his father, (a consummate musician) was on the road at the time; pianist Tony Pacini came to Portland, Oregon as an infant. Tony's exposure to music began at an early age, having the added benefits of growing up in a musical family including three uncles, two aunts and a father all of whom were experienced musicians. A piano student since age 5, Tony led his first trio as a teenager, holding down weekends at a popular jazz spot.

The piano made higher education possible for Tony, including study at Boston's prestigious Berklee College Of Music, courtesy of a all-tuition paid scholarship from jazz critic Leonard Feather.

Upon returning to Portland Tony immersed himself in the jazz scene performing with, most notably: Leroy Vinnegar, Antonio Hart, Bill Henderson, Bud Shank, Benny Golson, Byron Stripling, Carl Sanders, Chuck Israels, Chuck Redd, Claudio Roditi, Curtis Fuller, Dan Faehnle, Hadley Calliman, Harry Allen, Marlena Shaw, Mary Stallings, Mel Brown, Ritchie Cole, Ron Steen, Nancy King and Rebecca Kilgore.

Ed Bennett

A dedicated, working professional, Ed also majored in music, first attending Los Angeles Valley College. The following year, Ed was accepted to the Berklee School of Music in Boston in 1971. Ed made what he considers to be his first professional jazz engagement doing a week stint at the Jazz Workshop with Brazilian greats Victor Brasil and Claudio Rotiti, while a Berklee student. On his return home to Los Angeles he attended CSUN (Cal State University Northridge) in 1973.

In 1974, Ed toured with Jimmy Witherspoon. From 1976 to 1979 he backed Carmen McRae, making his recording debut on "Carmen McRae at the Great American Music Hall" in San Francisco which was was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1977. In 1981, he worked with the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band, recording the Grammy- nominated "Tanuki's Night Out."

While living in Los Angeles, Ed Bennett recorded his first album as leader on Vision Records in 1987. A trio date with Kent Glenn (piano) and Jack Ranelli (drums). In 1993 Ed started Saphu Records, an a Portland independent jazz record label. There are currently 19 releases in the Saphu catalog.

Mel Brown

Brown was employed as a session musician for many Motown Records artists in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. It was not Motown's policy to print the names of the backing band members at the time, so he is not credited on the album notes for many of his recordings.

Brown came to Motown via Martha Reeves who hired him in 1967 to join her band, at comedian Redd Foxx's recommendation. Brown played for Reeves and the Vandellas for a couple of years (she gives him a shout out on her unreleased Live at the Copa album) before Motown hired him away as a studio musician and to travel with other Motown acts. Coming full circle, Reeves and Brown reunited in 2010 when Martha was booked at the Portland night club called, amazingly, "Jimmy Mak's."

Brown also recorded drums on the George Harrison song "My Sweet Lord" released in 1970 on the album All Things Must Pass.

Brown continues to play jazz and blues at Jimmy Mak's and other Portland venues on a weekly basis, with some of the Pacific Northwest's most prominent jazz, funk and soul musicians. He also organizes the Mel Brown summer camp for students of jazz at Western Oregon University.


pdxJazz is a non-profit cultural arts organization dedicated to curating jazz in Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. We strive to inspire, educate and develop future jazz audiences for generations to come.



Recorded and mixed by Alan Niven in eight channels of audio and one camera. Produced by wolftraks.com for pdxJazz, Portland, Oregon.