February 20, 2016
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97201
$15 general admission, $12 PJCE members, $5 Seniors and Students w/ID

The Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble offers a rare opportunity to hear works by student composers and their mentors for our 12-member jazz chamber orchestra at the same concert. The Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra performs an opening set, and brief panel discussion with the students and mentors will follow the concert.

Jazz is an oral tradition, passed on from one generation to the next — and that includes composition as well as performance. That’s why the PJCE Winter concert is presenting compositions by both students and their mentors — all played by the PJCE’s 12-­piece jazz chamber orchestra. It’s a rare opportunity for the composers and listeners alike.

To foster those rare mentor­-student relationships, the PJCE selected three student jazz composers and partnered them with three accomplished mentors who assisted the “grasshoppers” in realizing their musical vision for a large professional ensemble. At the same time, those professional composers were working on their own pieces for the PJCE.

The Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra will perform an opening set, and a brief panel discussion with the students and mentors will follow the concert. Ezra Weiss will mentor Andres Moreno, Kerry Politzer will mentor Devina Boughton, and the Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra will sponsor John Blewster, who will also write for the ensemble with the help of his mentor Ben Medler.

Composing music for a large jazz ensemble is quite challenging for most students, but with help from their mentors, they’ll learn valuable lessons about the technical details of scoring for winds and rhythm section, incorporating improvisation, and producing a score to professional standards. On top of that, they’ll get the chance to hear their creative ideas come to life, a rare opportunity for such young students.

The Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble, is a non­profit organization dedicated to commissioning, performing and celebrating new jazz music by Portlanders and Oregonians. Now in its seventh season, the PJCE has enjoyed rapid growth and a strengthening reputation as a source for opportunity and community for jazz musicians, fans, and students in Portland.

This season’s programming in particular has included many firsts for the organization: our November collaboration with the Catherine Feeny/Chris Johnedis duo was the first with a group from the indy rock scene, and our Oregon Stories Project, to take place in April, will be a first venture into producing content for public radio—three stories about exceptional Oregonians from unsung communities with original music by Darrell Grant, Mark Orton and Douglas Detrick, and funding from the Oregon Community Foundation. We look forward to continuing to reach out to new communities with our concert programming, our record label, and our community­-building Happy Hour events.

The Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra has trained musicians from the Portland Metro Area since 2001 by bringing young musicians together to rehearse, study, and perform the American art form of Jazz. Many alumni have attend prestigious music schools across the country on scholarship, or have continued in music education. Students from Portland and the surrounding areas (as far as North Salem, Battleground, WA, Forest Grove, & East of Gresham) meet once a week in SW Portland at The Burlingame Space.