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Famed Oregon Coast Jazz Party Swings Into Newport's Nye Beach Oct 6 - 8

Published 09/11/23 at 5:47 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Famed Oregon Coast Jazz Party Swings Into Newport's Nye Beach Oct 6 - 8

(Newport, Oregon) – October is coming soon to the central Oregon coast town of Newport and that means one heckuva party will be swinging into town – quite literally. It's Newport's annual Oregon Coast Jazz Party at the Newport Performing Arts Center, with three days of live jazz in a wide range, happening October 6-8.

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The famed jazz fest has left an indelible mark on Newport, starting over 20 years ago in the town's quaint Nye Beach area. The Oregon Coast Jazz Party has become nationally known for its talented roster of performers, the beautiful venue and that inimitable backdrop of the beach surrounding it. Put on by the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, all of it is just steps from the Pacific Ocean.

This year's lineup is again another stellar installment, put together by music director Ken Peplowski, boasting Pacific Northwest talent and in-demand artists from around the country. This time around you'll find again find local keyboard whiz Randy Porter, The Monty Alexander Trio (Monty Alexander, Luke Sellick, Jason Brown) as well as Katie Thiroux. There's also Diego Figueiredo, Ada Rovatti, Todd Strait, Tom Wakeling, Kenny Washington, Lewis Nash, Dave Captein and Tom Ranier.

“We have a very exciting and eclectic lineup this year,” said Peplowski, who will also be playing live, “Some jazz party favorites joined by some new-to-this-event performers that will absolutely blow you away.”

Randy Porter

Peplowski, from the Oregon coast, is no shirker to fame himself, well-known as a clarinetist and tenor saxophonist - and with a worldwide fan base. With his innate sense of rhythm, incredible technical fluency, and rich, full sound, he's admired by audiences and critics alike, and has even been referred to as "the greatest living jazz clarinetist" (Russell Davies, BBC Two). Peplowski is also one of the world's most recorded jazz players, and has played with epic talent that includes Benny Goodman, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Charlie Byrd, Rosemary Clooney, and many others.

Portland's Porter has been nominated for a Grammy for his album Porter Plays Porter with Nancy King. LA's Thiroux is a vocalist and adept standup bass player, while Portland bassist Wakeling is famous for his subtleties.

Festival organizers and the OCCA staff have brought together an army of volunteers for the Oregon Coast Jazz Party, which is now in high gear for preparations.

“It takes a village, as they say, to bring an event of this scale to life – and we’re fortunate to have a wealth of local music-lovers pitching in,” said Jason Holland, Executive Director for OCCA. “I couldn’t be more excited about the lineup of musicians in store for our audiences. We’re thrilled to welcome Ken Peplowski back on stage this year. October can’t get here soon enough.”

Each session is different, Peplowski said. With the 125th anniversary of George Gershwin's birth this year, and next year boasting the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Rhapsody in Blue, it's a prime time to pay tribute to the man who helped shape the jazz landscape. Peplowski said that piece was one of the earliest attempts at melding jazz and classical – and with exceptional results.

“This will be the first time this jazz party has ever honored a specific composer, and if you like it, we'll keep up the tradition,” he said.

Performances take place in Newport Performing Arts Center’s state-of-the-art Alice Silverman Theatre, which features the unparalleled sound quality of the venue’s Meyer Constellation acoustic system, delivering an extraordinary live sound experience. Audiences can reserve seats for individual sessions ($55-$75) or purchase a “Party Pass” to gain access to every session, all weekend long ($210). All proceeds benefit Oregon Coast Council for the Arts. Tickets are available in person at the box office (777 W Olive Street), by calling (541) 265-ARTS, or online, at

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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