Join us for PJCE’s annual fundraiser in the style of “Iron Chef!”

Three composers, Gordon Lee, Christopher Brown, and Caroline Miller, will head off in a friendly competition—who can create the most delicious, the most delightful, the most delectable new composition using the secret ingredient, Tommy Wolf’s tune “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” We chose this year’s ingredient to get us in the mood for spring time in Portland and to challenge our composers to add a new twist on an old standard. Local jazz mainstays Kerry Politzer, Aaron Barnes, and Jimmy Herrod will provide colorful critiques and be the ultimate judges of who cook’s up the tastiest tune! Hosted by revered jazz artist and Oregon Hall of Fame Inductee, Marilyn Keller, prepare for a night full of new sights and sounds!

Happening in tandem and available now, is our silent auction! In addition to opportunities to support new local jazz, you’ll find goods from Revival Drum Shop, Portland Leather Goods, Next Adventure, Portland Nursery, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and Portland Coffee Roasters; services from Kramer and Associates Law Firm, JP Wealth Management & Substrate Arts Consulting; experiences from staying at the coast to visiting Knot Springs, Portland Center Stage, McMennamin’s, Stoller Family Estate, Portland Pickles games, Bar Norman, the 2023 Montavilla Jazz Festival, and fly fishing with our very own Ryan Meagher! See the full list and start bidding here. Silent auction ends on Sunday, April 23rd at 6pm.

Our 2023 fundraising event is in-person at The 1905 and will be livestreamed. Tables and chairs are avialable to all general admission ticket holders. Seating will be first come, first served and ordering from the full menu is encouraged. Come hungry (and thirsty) to enjoy an evening of great jazz and support our upcoming programs at PJCE!

The Host:

Marilyn T. Keller, 2016 Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame Inductee, is a 40-year veteran of music and stage performance in Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Pop, Blues, and theater, nationally and internationally. Her musical roots are diverse. Marilyn has built a career that has taken her as a feature artist to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Russia and the UK for concerts, festivals, nightclubs and recording work. Her voice can be heard on multiple recordings, movie sound tracks, commercials and documentaries. Marilyn’s formative jazz training was as a member of the Mt. Hood Community College Vocal Jazz Ensemble and as the vocalist fronting the award-winning MHCC Jazz Lab Band. She can be seen frequently at clubs, restaurants, festivals and holiday events throughout the Pacific Northwest. She remains active, performing with Don Latarski, Darrell Grant, Tom Grant, Black Swan Classic Jazz Band, Pressure Point Band and the Augustana Jazz Quartet, among many others, and is a board memeber for PJCE.

The Composers:

Christopher Brown is an acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, and educator who seeks to be a voice within the advocacy of Jazz music and American culture. And through the expansive range of groups that he has assembled and/or performed with—which span from duos to Jazz big bands to military marching bands and orchestras—his musical and personal experiences have led him towards an interest in synthesizing the principles of Jazz with the day-to-day practicalities of life. However, given that businesses shape the global market economy that everyone lives and participates in, is why he has found it useful to integrate business philosophies with that of music to help develop himself and his band. Which as he likes to say, “we’re all in the same business…the people-trusting-people business. No people, no business.”

Gordon Lee is a composer, jazz pianist, arranger, conductor and music educator who is well known throughout the Pacific northwest and has worked with Don Cherry, Obo Addy, Joe Lovano, Bobby Hutcherson and Benny Golson among many others. Lee played with one of the originators of jazz-rock fusion, Jim Pepper, for 14 years and also has played with drummer Mel Brown since 1986. He taught music at Reed College and Western Oregon University. Gordon Lee blazes new paths, forging the highest quality original music while informing the public about music’s potential.


Caroline Louise Miller is a US composer based in Portland, Oregon. Her work broadly explores affect, ecology, labor politics, tactility, and digital materiality, often addressing contemporary issues within dreamlike musical spaces that thread field recordings, shimmering textures, and romantic melodic lines through harsh noise and clattering dissonances. She has most recently received grants, fellowships, and commissions through Alarm Will Sound, SPLICE Ensemble with funding from Chamber Music America, Guerilla Opera, Transient Canvas, and Ensemble Adapter. In 2018 she won the ISB/David Walter Composition Competition for Hydra Nightingale, created with improvisor and bassist Kyle Motl. Other projects include whistle-session hijacker, a collection of acousmatic/instrumental hip-hop crossover tracks. C.L.M.’s music appears across the U.S. and internationally. Caroline is Assistant Professor of Music in Sonic Arts at Portland State University, and holds a Ph.D in Music from UC San Diego.

The Judges:

Kerry Politzer is a Portland-based jazz pianist, composer, and educator. She is on the music faculty of Portland State University and the University of Portland, and she also teaches through Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University. Kerry received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Piano from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied improvisation and composition with the late jazz guru Charlie Banacos. She continues to be inspired by his teachings and is now working on a Master of Music in Jazz Composition from Rowan University. Last year, Kerry competed as a composer in the Cook-off!

Jimmie Herrod is a Singer/Songwriter from Tacoma, Washington living in Portland, Oregon. Jimmie holds a bachelors in music from Cornish College of the Arts, and a masters in music from Portland State University. Starting in the winter of 2017, Jimmie has regularly toured with international act Pink Martini, performing across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Israel. In 2021, Jimmie competed on America’s Got Talent where he placed as a finalist. Herrod has been seen on PBS, Jimmy Kimmel Live supporting Odesza, as a headliner in America’s Got Talent Live at Luxor in Las Vegas, and on AGT All Stars in early 2023. Herrod has recorded a short length jazz influenced album, “Falling in Love and Learning to Love Myself” in 2018, an EP with Pink Martini featuring his viral rendition of the song “Tomorrow” in 2019, and his most recent EP entitled “Elated” is the first of many Pop/R&B releases post his time on America’s Got Talent. Jimmie has performed along side Lalah Hathaway, Renee Fleming, Vince Mendoza, Laura Osnes, Monet X Change, Capathia Jenkins, Jinx Monsoon, Idina Menzel, Brian Blade, Steven Rieneke, Aoife O’donovan, Raul Midón, Vince Mendoza, and opened for Kandace Springs, and Bilal.

Aaron Barnes, owner and oeprator of The 1905, a restaurant which has emerged as Portland’s one and only exclusively-jazz club, was a longtime high school band leader and a pizza lover who before opening The 1905, had five ovens in his garage! The 1905 features the finest local musicians as well as touring artists from around the globe. Barne’s is sure to know a good tune when he hears one!


The Cook-off Quartet:

Gordon Lee, piano

Mike Horsfall, vibraphone

Christopher Brown, drums

Bill Athens, bass