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Manuel Valera Trio

HOUSE CONCERT!

Saturday, Oct 21, 7:30pm

Manuel Valera - piano
Hans Glawischnig - bass
Mark Whitfield Jr. - drums

RSVP Now!

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LooseWig Jazz Party

@ the Fremont Theater!

Saturday, Sep 30, 8-10pm

Fremont Theater
2393 NE Fremont
Portland, OR 97212

Watch the live streamed first set!

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loose • wig (noun)

An exceptionally uninhibited performer; a way-out musician. One whose wig has flipped beyond the norm.

- The Guinness Dictionary of Jazz

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"LooseWig always swings even when the chord changes are complex, and the individual solos are consistently outstanding."

Scott Yanow, L.A. Jazz Scene

Loosewig
Loosewig

What is LooseWig?

An exceptionally uninhibited performer; a way-out musician. One whose wig has flipped beyond the norm.
- The Guinness Dictionary of Jazz

LooseWig is more than a jazz group in Portland, Oregon. LooseWig is also a series of house concerts, jam sessions and most of all a state of mind!

Click the Events tab to find out about house concerts, gigs and jam sessions! Click Listen to hear full-length recordings and purchase CDs!

The latest musical ensemble incarnation of LooseWig takes the form of a Portland, Oregon jazz sextet including Greg Garrett on trumpet, Ben Fajen on tenor saxophone, Stan Bock on trombone, Tom Sandahl on guitar, Tim Gilson on bass and Mike Snyder on drums!

We recently played on February 25th, 2017 at Al's Den as part of the PDX Jazz Festival! Happily, the packed concert was recorded on audio and video!! Stay tuned to watch and listen to the recording!

Listen
Listen
LooseWig (Debut Recording)

This album reflects LooseWig's commitment to modern bop. And in keeping with the group's name, there's always a TWIST. Check out Giant Steps, played in 3-4 rather than the traditional 4-4 as well as Bryan Bowman's originals Mars Passing and Like Minds

Ben Fajen, Tenor Saxophone
Mike Abraham, Guitar
George Ban-Weiss, Bass
Bryan Bowman, Drums and Compositions

Engineer - Bond Bergland
Recorded at San Pablo Studios, Berkeley CA


Genre: Modern Bop
Live at the Jazz School

Recorded at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, CA, this album features all original compositions by Sam Bevan and Bryan Bowman!

Ben Fajen, Tenor Saxophone
Mike Abraham, Guitar
Sam Bevan, Bass and Compositions
Bryan Bowman, Drums and Compositions

Released by JazzSchool Records
Engineer - Jim Bennett
Mastering - Ken Lee
Cover Art - Michael Balmaceda

Buy CD!
iTunes Store
CD Baby


Genre: Acid Jazz, Modern Bop
Velvet Coup

Recorded at the San Pablo Studios in Berkeley, CA, this album features all original compositions by Sam Bevan and Bryan Bowman!

Ben Fajen, Tenor Saxophone
Mike Abraham, Guitar
Sam Bevan, Bass and Compositions
Bryan Bowman, Drums and Compositions

Released by LooseWig Records
Engineer - Bond Bergland
Mastering - Ken Lee
Cover Art - Michael Balmaceda

Buy CD!
iTunes Store
CD Baby


Genre: Acid Jazz, Modern Bop
Ezra Weiss and Ben Fajen Interviewed on KBOO for the April 22 Fundraiser Concert

Dayna Stephens will be a special guest artist of the Ezra Weiss Big Band in a benefit concert and silent auction at New Expressive Works on Saturday, April 22nd!

This is a benefit concert for the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival! The Jazz Society of Oregon, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has been running this festival the last three years and is working tirelessly to ensure the festival remains FREE to the public during the 37th year of it's existence. The festival receives no government support and has very high parks and license fees. We have raised a little more than one third of the funds for this festival, and are seeking new and different avenues for finding community support.


Genre: Big Band Jazz
Events
Events
Manuel Valera, one of the headliners at the most recent Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, will appear October 21, 2017 in an intimate house concert setting with Hans Glawischnig on Bass and Mark Whitfield Jr. on Drums! This concert is not to be missed! Manuel Valera Born and raised in Havana, Grammy...

Location Address: 

5332 SE Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97215
United States
Nov
11
Save the Date -- Ezra Weiss Sextet!
Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 7:30pm to 10:30pm

Location Address: 

5332 SE Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97215
United States
Nov
18
Loosewig Sextet at the Fremont Theater!
Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 7:30pm to 10:30pm
LooseWig Jazz Party at the Fremont Theater! Come help us celebrate the LooseWig house concert series at a larger venue! We're playing at the Fremont so we can welcome the full LooseWig jazz community under one roof. The LooseWig Jazz Sextet (our "house" band) will play at 8pm! Doors open at 7:...

Location Address: 

2393 NE Fremont Street
Portland, OR 97212
United States
Dec
02
Save the Date: Kerry Politzer and PDX Bossa
Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 7:30pm to 10:00pm

Location Address: 

5332 SE Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97215
United States
Dec
10
Save the Date: David Friesen!
Sunday, December 10, 2017 - 7:30pm to 10:00pm
David Friesen will perform on Sunday, December 10th! Don't miss this opportunity to hear a musical legend!

Location Address: 

5332 SE Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97215
United States
Mar
17
Save the Date: George Colligan Trio!
Saturday, March 17, 2018 - 7:30pm to 10:00pm

Location Address: 

5332 SE Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97215
United States
Join LooseWig
Join LooseWig

Please sign up now to be on our mailing list and receive updates when there are upcoming concerts, gigs and jam sessions!

Praise
Praise
Praise for Velvet Coup

Loose Wig is a quartet of adventurous jazz musicians who are based in the San Francisco area. Their frontline is formed by tenor-saxophonist Ben Fajen and guitarist Mike Abraham while bassist Sam Bevan and drummer Bryan Bowman have very active roles, making the group into a true musical democracy.

On Velvet Coup, Loose Wig performs 11 group originals; eight by Bevan, two from Bowman and one by Abraham. The music could be called modern post bop jazz in that, while the improvising is chordal-based, the compositions, structures and rhythmic accents are complex and fresh. These are not the type of tunes that are heard at typical jam sessions!

The music swings in its own way, with the saxophonist and the guitarist often playing the tricky melodies in unison. The opening “Ann Uncompromised” has Fajen and Abraham trading and echoing each others ideas almost instantly. The interplay between the musicians (they all have big ears) is apparent throughout this set, whether it is the jazz waltz “Sweetback,” the ominous-sounding “Revencers” (which has a pattern in 5/4 stated by bassist Bevan), the spooky ensemble ballad “A Faint Glimmer In Remembrance,” or the post bop swinging of “The Sound Of Midnight.”

Fajen’s cool tone and Abraham’s versatility, along with the tight rhythm section, make even the most complex music on Velvet Coup seem accessible. Recommended.

Scott Yanow 
(Review written for L.A. Jazz Scene magazine —
Scott has written ten books, including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76)

Praise for Live at the Jazz School

This set by Loose Wig features the quartet (tenor-saxophonist Ben Fajen, guitarist Mike Abraham, bassist Sam Bevan and drummer Bryan Bowman) performing nine originals at Berkeley’s Jazz School. All four of the musicians have important roles in the music with the episodic tunes and the intuitive but logical improvisations inspiring each of them to stay very alert. The tightness of the group (Abraham and Bevan in particular seem to think as one) is impressive.

Loose Wig always swings even when the chord changes are complex, and the individual solos are consistently outstanding. Bassist Bevan has a strong spot on “Presque Vu,” guitarist Abraham’s statements are constantly full of surprises, Fajen puts plenty of feeling into the melancholy jazz waltz “Now’s Not The Time” (hinting a bit at Warne Marsh’s tone), and Bowman’s understated drumming should not be overlooked. They have plenty of opportunities to stretch out, particularly on the ten-minute “Blues (In 5)” which, quite typically, is not a blues. All of the chord changes on this program are original and the post bop music is generally difficult to categorize as anything but high-quality modern jazz.

A play-by-play analysis is unnecessary. Suffice it to say that Live At The Jazz School will satisfy lovers of creative jazz.

Scott Yanow 
(Review written for L.A. Jazz Scene magazine —
Scott has written ten books, including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76)

Scott Yanow

LooseWig always swings even when the chord changes are complex, and the individual solos are consistently outstanding.

Scott Yanow - L.A. Jazz Scene

Aileen Robbins

"LooseWig Jazz has provided their original and standard jazz melodies during our annual Toast of the Town San Francisco event at the War Memorial Opera House for the past three years. Their engaging performance, which took place on two different levels of the Opera House, added immeasurably to the ambiance of the event, and to its success in general. Ben and his team are not just excellent, creative musicians but also very professional, and a pleasure to work with."

Aileen Robbins, Event Producer, Wine Enthusiast Companies

Praise for LooseWig (Debut Recording)

While LooseWig is currently a sextet based in Portland, Oregon, back in 2004 when it was a new band, the quartet consisted of tenor-saxophonist Ben Fajen, guitarist Mike Abraham, bassist George Ban-Weiss and drummer Bryan Bowman. From the start, the band had its own sound, featuring plenty of close interplay between the four musicians along with solos that were both explorative and swinging.

The group’s debut recording, which is simply called LooseWig, has not dated or lost its vitality in the slightest. It is quite enjoyable hearing what was really the birth of a band as LooseWig stretches out on 11 diverse compositions.

The set begins with “Black Narcissus,” one of several numbers heard on this CD that are associated with Joe Henderson. Henderson and to a lesser extent Michael Brecker and Hank Mobley are influences on Ben Fajen although, even in 2004, he already had his own sound and approach to playing modern post-bop jazz. His solo on “Black Narcissus,” with guitarist Abraham riffing behind him along with the active rhythm section, is a highlight.

Bryan Bowman’s “Mars Passing” is most notable for the very original tone of Abraham and the way his playing is quite complementary to Fajen’s. “Blues In 5” is not strictly a blues (it is more like an extended and augmented “Summertime”) but it is in 5/4 time and is a bluish exploration. “Soul Cowboy” is actually a blues, a swinging performance that gives all four musicians opportunities to shine.

The whimsical waltz “Ju Ju” has some fairly free improvising and interplay. The band somehow sounds effortless on Bowman’s tricky melody line to “Like Minds” which precedes a tasteful interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s “’Round Midnight.” A pair of Joe Henderson compositions, “Inner Urge” and “Isotope,” inspires inventive yet mostly melodic solos along with many heated moments. As if its chord changes are not challenging enough. LooseWig takes John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” as an uptempo jazz waltz, an unusual treatment that inspires some highly original solos. This impressive debut concludes with a straightforward guitarless trio version of “All The Things You Are.”

LooseWig’s first recording, which is filled with top-notch jazz improvising and strong melodies, was not only a strong start for the group but resulted in an easily recommended set of timeless jazz.

Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian

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