Marilyn Keller’s journey of faith and love in song, with composer and pianist Darrell Grant. A live video premiere and EP release as part of Blackfish Gallery’s Be About Love Festival.
Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE) has commissioned a new song cycle for the Blackfish Gallery “Be About Love” Festival, My Dreams, My Journey with lyrics by vocalist Marilyn Keller, and music by pianist Darrell Grant. Marilyn is a treasured veteran of Portland’s jazz and gospel music scenes who is often called in to bring life to songs by others. In this project, Keller steps forward as a creative director and lyricist. Keller and Grant will perform the music in a quartet with bass and drums in a pre-recorded video that includes interviews with the composer and lyricist.
This new music will “deal with the times we are living in, and how we will come through together,” as Marilyn has said, offering her own open and affirming Christian faith as an example that a wider audience can find itself in. Marilyn has chosen Darrell Grant to compose music for her lyrics. It’s easy to understand why—this composer and pianist is a frequent collaborator with Keller and like her is an internationally recognized artist. But this pair of African American artists also show how our society could unify around principles of universal love and celebration of diversity. “I am His masterpiece,” Keller writes, proudly claiming her own truth, and also how she sees a divine capacity for goodness in all people.
Online event information:
Friday, October 23rd, 2020, 7:30 pm PDT.
The livestream is free and open to all at https://www.blackfish.com/
The audio recording of the music will be released on PJCE Records on November 6th, 2020.
About the Artists
Marilyn T. Keller, 2016 Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame Inductee, is a 38-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.
Since the release of his debut album Black Art, one of the New York Times’s top ten jazz CD’s of 1994, Darrell Grant has built an international reputation as a pianist, composer, and educator who channels the power of music to make change. He has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe in venues ranging from Paris’s La Villa jazz club to the Havana Jazz Festival. Dedicated to themes of hope, community, and place, Grant’s compositions include his 2012 Step by Step: The Ruby Bridges Suite honoring the civil rights icon and The Territory which explores Oregon’s landscape and history. Since moving to Portland, Oregon he has been named Portland Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalist Association, received a Northwest Regional Emmy, and received a MAP Fund grant and the Governor’s Arts Award. He is a Professor of Music at Portland State University where he directs the Artist as Citizen Initiative.
Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create original jazz music that engages and supports our community’s diverse artists, cultures and place. In operation since 2008, PJCE is the only organization dedicated to commissioning and performing original music by Portland musicians, building a broad audience through unique, collaborative and community-oriented programming that builds bridges between communities in this vibrant city. Learn more at http://pjce.org.
About Blackfish Gallery
Blackfish Gallery is one of the most enduring and successful cooperative art galleries in the United States. We have been fully owned and operated by working artists since our beginning, and we are among Portland’s pioneer galleries. Our history can be traced to 1978, when Blackfish was born as a concept among a loose affiliation of Portland art professors. These artists were interested in supporting each other professionally and in exhibiting their work without the usual constraints of a commercial art gallery. They rented an empty storefront and, with their own labor and skills, created an art gallery that opened in May 1979.
We celebrated our fortieth anniversary in 2019 and have grown and prospered; the gallery has moved and expanded exhibition space twice during that time. Over 100 prominent Oregon and Washington artists have been represented as members of Blackfish Gallery over the years. Blackfish currently represents 30 artists; three are founding members and have been with the gallery from the beginning.
Our mission has not changed since our early days. We are dedicated to the highest standards of excellence, both in the selection and presentation of works of art. We have a reputation for exhibiting challenging contemporary work by both our own artists and invited guests. In association with exhibitions, we frequently produce educational programs for the benefit of the community. Since its inception, Blackfish has hosted a wide variety of events, including talks by visiting artists, panel discussions, theater productions, site-specific performances and literary readings. We have also frequently presented multimedia collaborative projects, always anchored by a curated art exhibition and often accompanied by related public activities. These projects all have been dedicated toward increasing understanding of visual art and have often demonstrated the value of art as a tool for exploring contemporary issues.
Each Blackfish project is designed to carry out three goals that support our mission. We seek out and present outstanding visual art within the context of thought-provoking ideas. We provide a forum and a venue for artists creating unique work that may exist beyond commercial boundaries. We reach for a broader and more diverse audience by continuing to program exhibitions and events with themes having significance for a wide cross section of our community.
Blackfish Gallery continues to be managed as an artists’ cooperative, but we are organized as a corporation that operates a retail business. In addition to nurturing their individual aesthetic visions and managing their own careers, our artist members are equal partners in the business of running a gallery. The gallery is supported almost entirely through sales of artwork and the contribution of labor, expertise and funds by artist members.