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Wall to Wall Soul Collection

Albina Music Trust is an organization dedicated to preserving Portland’s pre-internet music culture. The following content is a digital collection of their exhibit, "Wall to Wall Soul", which is a creative interpretation of poster art and newspaper advertisements for jazz, soul, and funk groups and events during this time period. Ads come from Jazz Scene, Northwest Defender, and Oregon Advance Times. The name of the exhibit comes from the tagline of Paul Knauls' famous jazz venue, the Cotton Club. The Cotton Club featured a lunch counter, showroom and dance floor with live music seven nights a week from 1963-1970. Still groovy at age 92, Paul Knauls is known as "the mayor" and is often seen around Portland wearing a big smile and captain's hat.

The work shown below is a collaboration between archivist Bobby Smith from Albina Music Trust and designer Brian Mumford.

Above: 1976 concert poster for the band, Pleasure, put on by KVAN, a progressive rock station, at Paramount Theater (now named Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall). The group hit it big in 1979 with the funk song, “Glide”.

Top left: Nu Shooz was a Portland R&B group formed in 1979 and led by John Smith and Valerie Day. Their single "I Can't Wait" was released in 1985.

Top middle: The Street Music Band was formed by a group of high school teens collaborating in a NE basement. Eventually they rose above ground and took their newly formed funk band to various parks and venues. Listen to their music here.

Top right: The Royal Esquire Club, was a Black social club located at NE 17th and Alberta.

Top left: Geneva's Lounge is featured in the Velvet poster above. Geneva's was another business started by Paul and Geneva Knauls that lasted from 1968-1984. Geneva's featured a buffet lunch and, according to Paul, hosted the first DJ in town, Tony Silbley.

This vibrant era in music history, came crashing down when in 1973 the neighborhood was marked by city officials as "blighted". The process of demolishing over 300 homes and businesses to make way for a freeway, arena and hospital complex began. Some of the businesses and people featured here fell victim to this large scale destruction and displacement. The effects of this hardship, and cultural erasure are still felt today. Members of the group, known as Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2, are currently suing the hospital, the city and Prosper Portland in hopes of compensation for these historic wrongs.


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