I read with interest Steve Feeney’s review of the Wynton Marsalis-led Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performance at Merrill Auditorium on Dec. 2 (“Lincoln Center orchestra, Wynton Marsalis bring big New Orleans cheer to Portland,” Dec. 3).

I did not attend the concert but was struck by two comments: Feeney’s second line – “The orchestra was welcomed by an enthusiastic sellout crowd” – and his last line – “There’s nothing quite like the sound of a first-rate big band.”

How many of those jazz enthusiasts in the audience are aware that the best jazz north of New York City is played in Portland, once a month, at One Longfellow Square?

The Portland Jazz Orchestra, 18 pieces strong, is composed of some of the Portland area’s finest school music educators, led by Chris Oberholtzer, director of the jazz studies program at the University of Southern Maine. The Portland Jazz Orchestra is beyond first rate. Feeney must know of them, but I have never seen a review.

The Portland Jazz Orchestra has been performing monthly at One Longfellow Square, keeping big band jazz alive, for over 10 years. They are sensational! Their musicianship, song selection, arrangements, “firepower” and soloists can match any band, anywhere, including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

All this for a fraction of the cost at Merrill Auditorium: adults $9, students and seniors $5. And on many nights they feature a local high school jazz group to play during the intermission. Their next engagement is Dec. 17.

Please note: I have no connection to One Longfellow Square or any of the Portland Jazz Orchestra members. I’m just one who has been a jazz fan for 74 of my 84 years. Give a listen. You will be delighted.

Bob Russell

Kennebunk