The Portland, OR-based True North Jazz Band has been a steadily active, hard-working sextet. Focusing on vocal jazz and swing standards, members Kathy James, Steve Morgan and Brad McMillan also take pride in writing melodic, versatile, all-original compositions that appeal to a wide demographic of listeners. Originally started as the Kathy James Quintet in 2010 (with members Kathy James, Dan Schlesinger, Eric Austin, Steve Turmell and Mark Neimann-Ross), the band concentrated on contributing and developing Kathy’s strong, original compositions. That same year, the band obtained a monthly residency at the popular O’Connors Vault in scenic Multnomah Village and developed a strong fan base. Shortly thereafter, Dan Murphy began providing vocal support for the band. In 2012, Dan S. and Mark Neimann-Ross left to pursue other endeavors and were replaced by Steve Morgan on upright bass and Brad McMillan on Trombone – both songwriters who added their musical compositions to the fray. Expanding on its original material, the band updated its branding and became True North starting in 2014. The band continues their residency at a packed O’Connors Vault every last Thursday of the month thanks to the band’s almost cult-like status among its fans and patrons, who consistently show enthusiastic and much appreciated support. The band has also started playing regionally at various fairs and festivals and looks forward to a successful year of gigs, writing new songs and recording.

Numerous local music icons have also be seen guest appearing with the band:

  • Todd Hayes, tenor sax
  • Jardima Kroeker, vocals
  • James Gregg, trumpet
  • Malea, vocals
  • Greg Martin, tenor sax
  • Maddy Ross, vocals
  • Deanna Maio, vocals
  • Justin Smith, trumpet
  • Tara Williamson-Smith, vocals
  • Fred Ingram, drums
  • Ted Clifford, piano