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Mississippi Pizza Pub - Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Portland Jazz Jam

Every Tuesday night from 7:00 p.m. to approximately 11:00 p.m. jazz guitarist Darren Littlejohn holds a jazz jam at Mississippi Pizza. Mississippi Pizza is located at 3552 N. Mississippi Avenue in North Portland. Mississippi Avenue is a new restaurant row phenomenon in Portland, sporting an eclectic array of independent eating establishments, many with live music to soothe and inspire their patrons - a very happening scene indeed.

Towards the end of this long straight and sparsely lit avenue, a neon sign stands out, Mississippi Pizza Pub. When you enter, it looks like any neighborhood pizza joint might, but to the right of the cash register are double French doors leading into a large parlor. Soft white paneled walls with a plate rack atop and warm old-fashioned sconces to illuminate the space. The room is filled with well-worn wood table and chairs, a stage at one end with a stained glass window with the words Mississippi Pizza set within it, hangs over the front window while a bar, at the other far-end known as the Atlantis Lounge.

This evening guitarist John Stowell is the featured artist. Playing along side him are drummer Mike Montgomery and bassist Leah Hinchcliff. John is perched on his own special guitar stool and footrest playing a sleek and narrow-bodied arch top, constructed from birds-eye maple.

John's demeanor is introspective and serene as he plays. His finger stretch marvels the imagination as does his effortless fingering, gliding along the neck playing chords no one has ever heard of before. His style is the coolest of the cool, kind of the Miles Davis of jazz guitarists. John plays one of my favorite songs, I'll remember April, then completes his set with Beautiful Love.

The players change up. Alto saxophonist Jason Dumars, guitarist Chris Mosley and pianist Vince Frates jam on Summertime then trade fours on Lady Bird. The Mississppi Pizza jam is the brainchild of Darren Littlejohn and he has created a welcoming place for musicians and listeners alike.

Mississppi Pizza serves delicious hand thrown pizzas, salads, beer and soft drinks. Full pizza prices range from $15.75 to $23.25, with pizza by the slice available in the $3.00 range - all in a smoke free environment.

John Stowell's new music book & DVD are available on his web site and is published on Mel Bay Publishing.


Copyright 2007, Jazz Society of Oregon