by: Donna Nyberg CONSUMMATE PEFORMER — “Sweet Baby” James Benton appears alongside Grammy-winning artist Esperanza Spalding at History, Hope & Harmony: A Tribute to Portland's Jazz Heritage in February.

Scappoose resident and Portland jazz legend Sweet Baby James Benton is on deck Thursday, Aug. 11, to light up the 13 Nights on the River concert series in Olde Towne St. Helens.

Benton will perform with jazz 'heavyweights' the King Louie Band, and the concert is the last before the expected release of Grammy-winning vocalist and jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding's new CD which will feature a duet with the Portland-born tenor.

Benton said the duet is expected to appear on Friday's release.

He said it was a great experience working again with Spalding, who he had met when she was a teenager.

'I knew she was a genius then,' he said. Today, he said his association with Spalding has spurred a renaissance of interest in his music.

Benton has been called Oregon's answer to Ray Charles, and his performance is typically the highlight for the concern series.

UP NEXT - St. James Gate, Aug. 18.

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