With a feature in Vortex Music Magazine this quarter, alongside such Portland Jazz greats as Mel Brown and Dan Balmer, Coco Columbia has gained credibility as a true jazz artist. Certainly, her musical training in jazz drumming at Portland State University has exposed her to traditional jazz songwriting, instrumental appreciation, and technical skill. But being a true artist with a very expansive mind, this woman did not stop there! She began vocal training to perfect the sound she was wanting to create, and began to make a name for herself with her own style of music – music to get lost in…her bio describes her current project as a fusion of “infectious indie-pop melodies, dreamy eyed electro-soul soundscapes, complex harmony and jazz improvisation to create her own unique brand of bumpin’ space age future-pop.” It’s hard to find words to describe Coco Columbia – when listening, I am feeling more than hearing…transported somewhere with mythical creatures and more than one moon.
After several months spent teaching herself to record, make beats, and play piano she put together a group of Portland’s finest jazz musicians to finish recording her debut album, “The Weight”, funded by her successful kickstarter campaign in 2012. OPB called this album “forward thinking and boundary-pushing.” Spot on, considering that Coco Columbia combined jazz techniques, spacy keys, ethereal vocals, and spoken word in a very creative way! She collaborated with established local jazz musicians such as George Colligan, Grant Sayler, Jonathan Letts, Brandon Braun, Stephanie Cooke, Max Williamson, Nicole Glover, and Jefferey Rondeau – as well as with rap artists Soopah Eype and Fabian Rush. Unique, and thought-provoking album with dreamy lyrics. Her attention to detail is inspiring.
Consequently, when the artist needs sponsorship, fans respond with great enthusiasm! Coco recently raised $10,000 to fund her second album, “When the Birds Begin to Walk,” which will be released in 2016. If you’d like to catch Coco Columbia in action (and you want to!), she will be playing with Los Angeles band KNOWER this April 20 at The Doug Fir Lounge. Thank you to Vortex Music Magazine, Coco Columbia, and Willamette Week for the photos!