Mitch’s Commercial Break: Mary Kay Lotion & Lip Balm Gift Set – Berry & Cream

mary-kay-le-berry-and-cream-gift-set-hJust in time for fall and upcoming holidays, check out the Limited Edition of the Mary Kay® Lotion & Lip Balm Gift Set – Berry & Cream. Add a touch of softness to the season with this blissful body lotion and luscious lip balm. The set comes nestled in a festively decorated gift box for easy gift-giving.

†Available while supplies last. For more information, order online here or email 

2016 lineup set for Biamp PDX Jazz Festival

The 13th Annual Biamp PDX Jazz Festival is set to commence Thursday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb.  28 with 30 featured concerts at venues throughout the Portland metro region. Tickets exclusively available to PDX Jazz members beginning October 4, and to the general public November 2.

This year’s 11-day celebration will also boast the second annual Jazz Forward Competition, a high school competition drawing students throughout the western region. In partnership with Portland State University, the JFC was created to establish a scholarship program in the tradition of other prestigious regional events held in Reno, Nevada; Monterey, California and Moscow, Idaho. Finalists will compete in seven categories (two college level solo categories have been added) and the winners will receive main stage exposure.

The thematic centerpiece performances are two For Portland Only concerts featuring special guest Ravi Coltrane in celebration of his father’s 90th birthday and mother’s influence and artistry. Friday, Feb. 26, The Africa Brass Ensemble, under the direction of Portland Jazz Master Charles Gray, will re-imagine the five singular pieces from John Coltrane’s debut impulse! sessions. Anchoring this performance is Philadelphia pianist and McCoy Tyner inspired, Orrin Evans and his esteemed rhythm mates. On Saturday, Feb. 27, Ravi will pay tribute to his revered mother, Alice Coltrane, in a highly anticipated program titled, Universal Consciousness, featuring Reggie Workman (a prominent collaborator with John and Alice Coltrane), pianist Geri Allen (she and Alice are both Detroit natives), harpist Brandee Younger and drummer Andrew Cyrille.

“This will be the first themed Festival since 2011,” said Don Lucoff, states executive artistic director, in a recent news release. “I can’t think of a more fitting figure than John Coltrane, who transcends jazz music and serves as a guiding influence for so many human beings in their daily lives. Through the ensuing generations, Coltrane has served as a cultural touchstone, and it’s an honor to have his son, Ravi Coltrane represent his cherished legacy, and pay loving tribute to his mom, Alice Coltrane.

“We are presenting music for the first time during the Festival at Revolution Hall, Alberta Abbey and Al’s Den. We look forward to nine exciting shows at Jimmy Mak’s, including the anticipated return of Portlander Nicole Glover, our popular PDX Piano Perspectives series including Chano Domínguez, Brandee Younger, David Goldblatt, Aaron Goldberg and the American Pianist’s Association’s 2015 Cole Porter Fellow – Sullivan Fortner. Six shows at the Newmark and three at the Winningstad Theatres, complimented by free Jazz Conversations, music in the Art Bar Atrium of P5, and various hotels and restaurants throughout the downtown corridor.”

Coltrane’s mastery will be reflected through legacy performances in special groupings through tribute projects: Gary Bartz (Coltrane Rules) and Javon Jackson/Jimmy Cobb (We FOUR); Olé Coltrane featuring the Bobby Torres Ensemble with special guest Azar Lawrence, the West Coast debut of Reggie Workman’s RW WORKz, and a week-long residency of nightly Coltrane tributes from top Portland performers.

The BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival was co-founded in 2004 with Travel Portland to establish a cultural tourism initiative in the metro Portland area, and to celebrate Black History Month through education and outreach programming.

Kamasi Washington releases ‘The Epic’ as deluxe three-LP set

"Kamasi Washington: The Rhythm Changes," a Film by B+

“Kamasi Washington: The Rhythm Changes,” a Film by B+

Saxophonist Kamasi Washington is releasing his critically acclaimed debut album, The Epic, as a deluxe three-LP set. The set includes three black 180 gram vinyl records in individual 3mm spine-sleeves with custom artwork, with the full set housed in a rigid outer slipcase. The set also includes two 12-inch poster inserts featuring exclusive artwork by KC Woolf Haxton with a story adaptation and calligraphy by Kenturah Davis. Masters were half-speed cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy Mastering. For more information, go to

Mitch’s Muse Commercial Break: Roma Boots introduces new rain boot collection

Roma BootsRoma Boots has partnered with Sadie Robertson of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars to introduce a new collection of rain boots just in time for the holiday season. The Sadie Robertson Live Original™ Collection features stylish all-weather boots made of natural rubber with soft cotton lining in a fair trade factory. Both functional and fashionable, they are waterproof, comfortable, slip resistant, and eco-friendly. If you’re shopping for an earthy girl, the Opinca Kale is the go-to shade of green this season. If she’s the kind to make a statement, the Opinca Claret is an eye-catching red that will be sure to turn heads. If a touch of femininity is desired, the Opinca Floral is the perfection combination of simplicity and style for any lady.

All of these boots are available now for pre-order at They retail for $119 each and are set to ship in October. Roma Boots are also sold at over 400 boutiques and regional stores around the U.S. and internationally in the U.K., Japan, Germany, South Korea and Canada.

Samuel Bistrian founded Roma Boots in 2010 with the hopes of merging his knowledge of fashion with his passion for humanitarianism. Along with their “buy one, give one” philosophy, 10 percent of Roma Boots’ sales go towards an education initiative. Since its inception,Roma Boots has received attention from national and international media, such as TODAY, WWD, GMA, InStyle, Parade and more – as well as Hollywood celebrity support!

Now, it’s your turn. Roma is amor and amor means love. This holiday season, show your love and help Roma Boots with their mission: “Giving poverty the boot!”


Mitch’s Travel: Royalton Riviera Cancun hosts first ‘Just for Laughs Resort Week’

Royalton Riviera Cancun

Royalton Riviera Cancun

Ready to giggle, snicker, whoop and chuckle? Royalton Luxury Resorts has announced its inaugural “Just For Laughs Resort Week,” a comedy event in partnership Montreal-based entertainment group Just For Laughs, which produces the world’s largest annual comedy festival. This Nov. 8-14, comedy’s crème de la crème, including a Saturday Night Live alumnus, will take over Royalton’s newest addition, Royalton Riviera Cancun, for seven days of non-stop laughter and light-hearted fun.

Complimentary to all resort guests, the weeklong event will feature stand-up comedy performances, busker-style sidewalk shows, and “sleight-of-hand” workshops. Noted headliners include Saturday Night Live’s Jim Breuer, Last Comic Standing’s Alonzo Bodden, Vegas magician Ben Seidman, and more soon-to-be announced Just For Laughs comedians.

“This partnership brings guests a uniquely entertaining experience to enjoy the world’s best comedy without ever having to leave our luxurious all-inclusive resort,” said Francisco Jorge, general manager at Royalton Riviera Cancun, in a news release.

“We’re thrilled to bring our popular entertainment to Royalton Luxury Resorts vacationers in Cancun,” said Christine Melko-Ross, vice president of operations and business affairs for Just For Laughs. “As one of the top comedy brands in the world, we produce festivals and large-scale tours across North America. This time, we’re very excited to pack our bags and head south with some of our funniest alumni for the inaugural edition of Just For Laughs Resort Week – which we’re confident will be the first of many.”

At Royalton Riviera Cancun, luxury accommodations range from family-friendly suites to adults-only rooms at the boutique hotel within a hotel, Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun. All guests can enjoy Royalton’s All-In Luxury™ offerings, which include reservation-free gourmet dining at nine restaurants, free WiFi throughout the resort, and an onsite à la carte Royal Spa which features a hydrotherapy circuit and full selection of pampering treatments. For an enhanced experience, the resort offers the Diamond Club®, which includes a room upgrade and amenities such as personal butler service, an exclusive beach area, a mini-bar restocked daily, and more.

For more information or to book your next vacation, visit or contact your travel agent.

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World inspire saxophonist’s second project

wondersStraight-ahead jazz’s fixation on the past can often lead to stagnation. But on his dazzling new album, Wonders, Los Angeles-based tenor saxophonist Scott Jeppesen attacks the problem in an unlikely way: he reaches way further back. So far back, in fact, that there’s no room for imitation. The album draws its inspiration from the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — and without photos or videos or first-hand accounts, Jeppesen says he had to dream up what these millennia-old places might have been like.

“Part of the allure of these wonders is the fact that they’re not there anymore — that provides challenges, but it also provides freedom,” Jeppesen says in a recent news release. “I did a lot of my writing for this album at the piano, closing my eyes and thinking, ‘What if I was actually living in those places — what could that possibly be like?’”

Recorded with an expert quintet, Wonders demonstrates not only Jeppesen’s silvery tone and his suspense-building skills as a soloist, but also his talents as an arranger and composer. He has written and arranged for such world-famous talents as Stevie Wonder, Dave Brubeck and Steve Miller on tours and in televised performances. These experiences have helped mold his approach.

But Jeppesen’s biggest influence came early, from the late saxophone legend Joe Henderson, who mentored Jeppesen when he was still a teenager growing up in Sacramento.

“The guys I’ve worked with down here in L.A. have influenced my work in many ways, but I always feel Joe exerts the strongest pull on me,” he said. “Sometimes he would play bebop and other times he’d play stuff that made you say, ‘What in the world was that?’ His message to me was: If you hear a sound that’s what you should play — no matter how quirky, weird, or what time signature it was in — because your ears don’t lie. In spite of all the rules and boxes that are placed around you when you’re going through the jazz education system, make sure to focus on what are your ears telling you to do, and follow them into the unknown.”

Jeppesen is about to complete his doctoral degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California, finishing many years of schooling that have put him under the tutelage of many notable mentors such as Shelley Berg and Bob Mintzer. Jeppesen wrote much of Wonders in sessions with esteemed pianist Russ Ferrante, of the Yellowjackets, who challenged Jeppesen to embrace the harmonic complexity of his own ideas, and to “start to think polytonally.”

With help from fellow emerging L.A. musicians Larry Koonse on guitar, Josh Nelson on piano and keyboard, Dave Robaire on bass and Dan Schnelle on drums, Jeppesen interweaves elements of funk and early-1970s electric fusion with sleek but heady modern jazz. He fits it all snugly into the format of a straight-ahead quintet, leaving space when needed and dialing up the intensity with masterful control.

Wonders follows on the heels of Jeppesen’s well-received debut, 2014’s El Guapo, which received glowing reviews from many outlets, including DownBeat (the magazine singled out Jeppesen’s “creative writing” and “swinging playfulness”).

Composer/drummer Mike Reed releases new project with longtime quartet

reedA New Kind of Dance, the sixth album by Mike Reed’s long-running quartet People, Places & Things presents the same deft interactive rapport between alto saxophonist Greg Ward and tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman; the same crisp rhythmic drive provided by the leader and bassist Jason Roebke; and the same indelible mixture of bluesy depth and measured freedom as its superb predecessors. While the quartet was originally conceived to pay homage to an overlooked era in the rich history of Chicago jazz — namely, the soulful hard bop created by the likes of John Jenkins, Wilbur Campbell, Wilbur Ware, John Neely, and Frank Strozier, among others, in the mid-to-late 50s — the combo has since developed an-ever expanding repertoire, whether examining the potency of the Amsterdam scene on the 2013 album Second Cities Vol. 1 or digging into the music of contemporary Chicago figures on its 2009 album About Us. A New Kind of Dance advances the boundaries of the quartet’s repertoire further than ever.

“I don’t think that the group’s original mission has much to do with this project, but I do think, at its core, the music is meant to be nimble and smart with the arrangements,” says Reed in a news release. “However, it’s never meant to be too smart or removed from the audience.”

Reed’s connections to the Amsterdam scene are rooted in family ties — his mother grew up there — but he’s since developed strong relationships to musicians there. He had befriended the South American expat Sean Bergin, who died in September of 2012, and the influence of his music is very clear A New Kind of Dance. Bergin wrote the hard shuffling “Reib Letsma” and his love of South African kwela has long infected the Dutch scene, as heard on Michael Moore’s ebullient “Kwela for Taylor.”

“There’s an influence of grooving improvised music, mostly made in Europe, but which seems to have an original influence from South Africa,” Reed says. “Many of those early recordings did have some participation by former members of [South African expats] the Blue Notes, which made me look a little closer at that, and then made me realize the correlation between the music of Sean Bergin, ICP and many of the Dutch and some of the English Improvisers. It also seems to parallel the highly conceptual improvising of members of the AACM, who also did not shrug off the more grove-heavy nature of their own musical roots. I guess maybes there’s a desire to remember that this band is enjoyed most on a visceral level and to give in to the area that music effects people viscerally, mostly seen in movement.”


‘Touchstone’ captures pianist/vocalist Ariel Pocock’s versatility

pocockAriel Pocock, 22, has received international acclaim as a captivating jazz pianist, vocalist, and composer. Recognized by notable institutions such as Downbeat, the Kobe-Seattle International Jazz Vocal Competition and the Essentially Ellington Competition at Lincoln Center, where she won both the outstanding pianist award as well as the Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Vocalist Award.
Touchstone (Justin Time Records), Pocock’s debut album features fresh takes on classic jazz standards, original compositions, and her own arrangements of singer-songwriter material. She worked with producer Matt Pierson to compile this interesting mix of songs.  The inclusion of some of her favorite jazz standards like “Devil May Care,” “Exactly Like You,” and “Ugly Beauty” as well as some of the singer-songwriter material are a glimpse into the music Pocock loves as a musician. Although the music is diverse by category, it is tied together with the distinctive playing and vocal style that Pocock exudes.
Pocock is not the only musician that shines on Touchstone. The featured musicians include saxophonist Seamus Blake, guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland.  This all-star band also helped shape the reflective and meditative feel to the album as well. Although this particular group of musicians had never played together, the communication and musical dialogue on this album is apparent from its onset. With some of the arrangements being improvised in-studio with all the musicians contributing ideas and crafting parts, it is easy to tell that all the musicians believed in communicating Pocock’s love for the songs.
On teaming with such a great lineup of musicians Pocock states in a recent news release, “Working with Larry, Eric, Julian, and Seamus was incredible. They are truly some of my favorite musicians alive today. I’ve looked up to them all for years and it was quite surreal getting the opportunity to actually record with them. I arrived at the studio on the first day with some fairly serious nerves, but after meeting the band and showing them my ideas for the recording, I was totally at ease and so excited to get started.
Above all, I genuinely love every song on this album, and I hope that the listener can feel the joy that went into this album. I wanted this album to be an honest snapshot of the music I love and where I am as a musician right now. Touchstone feels organic and introspective to me and I hope that it comes across to the listener.”
A captivating performer, Pocock has headlined many notable venues and music festivals, including Ronnie Scott’s London Club, Iowa City Jazz Festival, Elkhart Jazz Festival, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Stanford Jazz Festival, Bellevue Jazz Festival, and in July 2015 had the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.
A recent graduate of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music where she studied under the Stamps Family scholarship, Pocock is based in North Carolina where she continues to compose and maintain an active performing schedule.

Mitch’s Travel: World’s first inland surf lagoon park opens in Wales

Surf Snowdonia in Wales is celebrating the Aug. 1 launch of its much anticipated, world’s first Wavegarden surfing lagoon. Located in the village of Dolgarrog within the Conwy Valley of North Wales, Surf Snowdonia uses revolutionary technology to deliver the longest manmade surfable waves on the planet. Created as a mass appeal concept for guests of all ages and skills, the innovative park is one of Wales’ many world-class adventure options, as 2016 is poised to be the country’s Year of Adventure.

Following an ambitious 13-month construction schedule, the $13.3 million facility’s surf lagoon produces consistent, perfectly formed barreling waves up to 6.5 feet high peeling for up to 492 feet. The waves are generated at the push of a button, using 100 percent rainwater from Snowdonia Mountain, at a rate of one wave per minute. Up to 52 surfers can use the 984 foot lagoon simultaneously. Want to learn how to hang ten? Surf Snowdonia’s Surf Academy offers two-hour lessons for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels for ages five and up.

Other Surf Snowdonia draws include the TV-show-style obstacle course activity zone. Built on an area of water the size of two Olympic swimming pools, the Crash and Splash Lagoon is a watery assault course to push agility, balance and determination to the limits — with spectacular splashdowns expected. In addition, the activity lagoon features “The Blob.” Like a giant floating seesaw, one person sits on the huge (15 foot), partially inflated air bag in the water, before another jumps to it from a platform above catapulting their friend high into the air — and then the water.

Other on-site activities are in the works including bodyboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, surf kayaking, surf yoga, surf fitness and early morning swim sessions. Surf Snowdonia will also play host to events, competitions and surf demos, giving the public access to the world’s top surfers.

Jazz band trioKAIT presents electro-acoustic sound on debut project

trioKAITEagerly defying genre boundaries with a fresh, inventive electro-acoustic sound, trioKAIT is a piano trio for a random-access generation. On their self-titled debut, the funky and eclectic Los Angeles-based trio — pianist Kait Dunton, electric bassist Cooper Appelt, and drummer Jake Reed — shuffles wide-ranging influences and Dunton’s unconventional compositions into a refreshingly modern take on instrumental music that is as uncategorizable as it is infectious.

On their first recording together, trioKAIT shows off a cohesive group sound and an electrifying camaraderie that takes most bands years to develop. A former member of the extended clan of Brooklyn-based fusionistas Snarky Puppy, Dunton refers to trioKAIT as a “family band,” a spirit that shines through in their playful and spontaneous interactions. Knowing her bandmates as well as she does — Appelt was a classmate of the pianist in the renowned jazz program at the University of North Texas; Reed was a classmate at USC — Dunton composes music that takes full advantage of their individual strengths and collective identity to forge an utterly singular sound.

Though Dunton’s fingers never stray from the keyboard of her acoustic piano, there are echoes of electronic music throughout her writing for trioKAIT. EDM, classic R&B, various transmutations of electronica, and modern rock music all intermingle with jazz and classical influences on the album, reflective of Dunton’s out-of-the-box tastes and interests. Her compositional focus is on storytelling rather than soloing, the emotional rather than the cerebral.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Dunton was obsessed with the piano, she says, “from the time I was old enough to reach the keys.” But with no models for a career in music, she thought of her passion as a hobby until she was encouraged to pursue it further by teachers at the University of Virginia, where she was majoring in Spanish. They helped her to put together a last-minute tape to apply to the University of North Texas.

Immediately upon arriving in the Lone Star state, Dunton made two life-changing encounters. Among the first musicians she played with were Ross Pederson, now an in-demand drummer with a stunning variety of artists, and Michael League, founder of Snarky Puppy. “I’d never played with people like that,” Dunton says in a news release. “It completely blew my mind. I learned a lot really fast.”

In 2009, Dunton released her debut album, Real & Imagined, which featured Pederson on drums and Daniel Foose on bass. She returned home to earn her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where she studied under pianist Alan Pasqua and composer Vince Mendoza. While there, she recorded her second release, Mountain Suite, with heavy-hitters from the USC faculty, including Peter Erskine on drums, Bob Mintzer on tenor sax, John Daversa on trumpet and Darek Oles on bass.

In Appelt and Reed, Dunton has found collaborators who are as open-eared and adventurous as she is. Both instrumentalists are active in a variety of scenes in L.A., playing big band jazz, rock, R&B, and funk music. As trioKAIT, they’ve made three tours of Germany and presented a preview of the new album at the USC Women’s Conference last March. The trio’s growing success is proving writer Don Heckman’s assessment of Dunton as “an extraordinary talent on the rise” as well as her recognition by as one of “10 Future Female Jazz Stars.”