On the closing evening of the Portland Jazz Festival, fans were treated to a special night with second-generation blues artist Lucky Peterson (touring in support of his self-produced, career-defining release The Son of a Bluesman) with support from Portland's own Roseland Hunters. Taking the stage after a heartfelt introduction by Peter Dammann and a blistering opening number by his band (featuring Shawn Kellerman on guitar, Raul Valdes on drums, Marvin Hollie on keys and Timothy Waites on bass), Peterson wasted no time winning the crowd over with his genuine love of performing, showmanship and charisma. This night was highlighted by Peterson’s prowess on the Hammond B3 and guitar, his powerful, gospel-tinged vocals, and a passion that is equal to some of the very best.
Late into the set, Peterson ventured out into the Aladdin Theater crowd with his red Hofner guitar blazing as he made his way through the aisles, with every pause creating a one-on-one moment to the delight of all in his path. But it was when Peterson took a seat in the aisle next to the soundboard that the sparks really began to fly while playing "Nana Jarnell"—a powerful and deeply personal instrumental dedicated to his mother and also the mother of his wife that was nothing short of breathtaking (listen below). After taking a moment to talk of his life, his relationship with his mother and mother-in-law, as well as remember his father and the late Michael Burks (who Peterson last played with at the Waterfront Blues Festival), from there it was a lesson in the blues until his show-closing, all-out heavy funk jam. On this night, Peterson and his band turned it up a notch or two, giving a performance that will leave a lasting impression on all those in attendance.