Biamp’s offices are filled with lifelong musicians and aficionados. Many of us spend our weekends rehearsing in basements with our bands, or standing near the stage at local concert halls. That’s true of the wider AV industry as well. Next time you walk an AV trade show floor, the odds are high that you’ll encounter dozens of AV professionals who spent their early years on tour or trying to get on tour. We are also a company that is committed to supporting charitable organizations on a local and international level, including PDX Jazz. As a lifelong jazz fan, I’ve been personally involved with PDX Jazz for quite some time; and now professionally through Biamp’s title sponsorship.

Jazz is so vital to American music heritage, but Portland’s emerging, grassroots-style jazz community is often overlooked. Our inspiration for becoming the title sponsor for PDX Jazz was two-fold. Although Biamp is a global company, we wanted to focus on increasing our efforts here at home in the Portland metro area. Given our strong connection to the music scene, PDX Jazz was a natural fit.

Portland’s jazz community has suffered a major setback in the last year, the closure of Jimmy Mak’s and the loss of its founder. While both the venue and Jimmy will be missed, it presents an interesting opportunity for growth, and I’ll be curious to see how the local jazz scene grows in 2017. I’ve heard several clubs on Portland’s East Side are picking up the baton by adding jazz to their lineups, and PDX Jazz is exploring new venues for the upcoming season. I’m excited to watch these emerging venues sprout up and take the lead.

The 2017 PDX Jazz Festival begins in February and features a variety of events, including a sold-out show starring Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling on the 16th. Prior to the Festival opener, PDX Jazz is partnering with Literary Arts to host a discussion about James Baldwin’s classic jazz-focused short story, Sonny’s Blues, on February 2nd.

For most of us at Biamp, the beginning of a new year is focused on trade show preparations, while everyone at PDX Jazz is focused on getting ready for the Festival in February. I have said many times, there is so much going on during the PDX Jazz Festival that you could take a week off from work and still not be able to attend all the events going on during those 10 days. If you’re in Portland in February, check out the PDX Jazz Festival and join us for a show.