Fresh from winning two Grammy Awards over the weekend – one shared with her local mentor Thara Memory – Portland native Esperanza Spalding is featured on this week's Oregon Art Beat special, "Masters of Jazz: The Next Generation."
The show, which profiles Memory's work and career with youth, airs Thursday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. on OPB TV. The show was filmed before the Grammy Awards were given, which gives a special edge to Art Beat's presentation.
Memory's American Music Program is a nationally recognized magnet school for seventh to twelfth grade students studying jazz, and after decades of teaching he is coming into his own as a champion of female jazz artists.
Over this past weekend public broadcasting members were invited to the OPB studios for a prescreening of the special plus a live concert by Portland native saxophone player Hailey Niswanger – whose career went global after her graduation from the American Music Program and then the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles on Sunday, Spalding and Memory shared a Grammy for "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists" for "City of Roses," a single on Spalding's – also Grammy-winning – album, "Radio Music Society."
"Thara Memory is one of many talented professionals working to shape the future of Portland's jazz community," says Jessica Martin, executive producer of Oregon Art Beat. "We are thrilled to bring our viewers a special, inside look into how he has contributed to the rise of a thriving jazz scene – and importantly – the elevation of women in jazz."
Those at the pre-screening of Art Beat say that Memory's advice about how parents can be supportive of girls who want to study the artistic discipline of jazz are a must-watch.
"Masters of Jazz: The Next Generation," features performances by and interviews with Niswanger and students in Memory's American Music Program, as well as Spalding – whose Grammy-honored album features some members of Memory's program.
Niswanger's second album, "The Keeper," was released in 2012. Niswanger will be touring with Spaulding in support of "Radio Music Society."
This week's Art Beat also includes interviews with Charles Brown III, a budding teenaged pianist from Northeast Portland who is currently in the American Music Program.
For more information go to http://www.opb.org/programs/artbeat/