About Montavilla Jazz Festival

Mission and Background

Now in its fourth year, Montavilla Jazz Festival (MJF) is a two-day festival that showcases the very best in original Portland jazz. While other festivals focus on international acts, legacy heavy hitters, or other mainstream jazz, MJF instead supports and strengthens local culture by highlighting the freshest, most exciting original compositions from Portland’s eclectic and vibrant jazz scene. Taking place annually at nonprofit performing arts space Portland Metro Arts, MJF offers Portlanders a unique and accessible way to join Portland’s finest musicians as they chart new frontiers in jazz. The 2017 MJF will host 12 performances over two days, and is headlined by Portland’s own Essiet Okon Essiet. The acclaimed bassist has performed and recorded with notable musicians ranging from Freddie Hubbard to Kenny Burrell to Art Farmer.

The mission of Montavilla Jazz Festival is not only to bolster Portland’s dynamic jazz culture, but also to enrich the local community. Like the neighborhood that serves as its home, MJF is a progressive, diverse, locally minded event that offers Montavilla residents an opportunity to come together, form connections and plug into Portland jazz.


Jasnam Daya Singh

Both by and for the neighborhood, MJF relies on the contributions of local businesses and volunteers. Before a single ticket is sold, all the resources needed to present MJF are raised in the form of sponsor dollars and partner in-kind contributions. MJF is proud and grateful to be supported by more than 50 sponsors and partners. MJF is also entirely run by volunteers. More than 70 volunteers ensure that the festival weekend runs smoothly, while still more volunteers work on the festival throughout the year. From the food and drink vendors to the volunteer who takes your ticket, every aspect of MJF is infused with the spirit of the Montavilla neighborhood.

The passion of organizers, artists, sponsors, partners and volunteers makes a big impact. In 2016, more than 500 attendees over two days witnessed 12 performances featuring 65 performers. Just as crucially, because of the hard work of its supporters, MJF is able to donate a portion of the proceeds from every ticket to the Montavilla Schools Music Fund. This money funds a variety of music education grants, which are open to the four public schools that serve Montavilla families. These grants support music education, encouraging the next generation of great jazz artists. To date MJF has granted $3,000 to Montavilla neighborhood schools.


Dates and location

When: Saturday and Sunday, August 21 and 20, 2017
Where: Portland Metro Arts, 9003 SE Stark, Portland, OR 97216

Montavilla Schools Music Fund

The Montavilla Neighborhood Association and the MJF team are dedicated to enriching the lives of Montavilla residents by supporting our neighborhood schools and their music education programs. To learn about the Montavilla Schools Music Fund (MSMF), please visit the MSMF page.

Student Musician

Photos by Kathryn Elsesser © Photography


Neil Mattson—festival director
Ryan Meagher—programming director
Aaron Hayman—art director

Support Team
Suzanne Bader—volunteer coordinator
Austin Stewart—communications
Kim Morris––newsletter
Trevor Forbess––social media
Patrick Caldwell––development assistant
Luby Wind—volunteer assistant

Rick Gordon—sound engineer
Ryan Meagher—production lead

Tom D’Antoni
Lynn Darroch
Deborah DeMoss Smith
Daniel Flessas
Ben Turner

Patrick Caldwell––writer
Tina Granzo—webmaster, blog
Aaron Hayman—graphic designer
Kristin Thiel—editor

Patrick Caldwell––writer
Aaron Hayman—graphic designer
Kristin Thiel—editor

Kathryn Elsesser
Aaron Hayman