Lyricists and songwriters Sanborn and Keller each debut their new songs honoring the power of dreams to change our waking lives, performed with Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble.

Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble’s (PJCE) returns to Montavilla Jazz Festival with a large ensemble performance showcasing original songs by local stalwarts vocalist-turned-lyricist Marilyn T. Keller and vocalist/keyboardist Rebecca Sanborn arranged for PJCE’s signature twelve-member jazz ensemble. In this double-bill concert, Rebecca Sanborn and Marilyn Keller lead as creative directors each sharing new songs recognizing and honoring the ability of dreams to change lives. These songs, all originating on our PJCE Online series, all explore personal truths of life during the pandemic, and open a door to empowerment for artist and listener alike.

Keller’s lyrics for My Dreams, My Journey, with music composed by her longtime collaborator Darrell Grant, celebrate faith, love, and family in joyful and sometimes poignant soul and gospel-infused songs. This performance will feature new arrangements of the songs by Dylan Hayes, Bryn Roberts, and Ezra Weiss for PJCE’s 12-member ensemble. The project was originally presented in a quartet format by Blackfish Gallery on their Be About Love Festival in October 2020.

Sanborn’s composition collection, Shadow Work, arranged by Douglas Detrick, is inspired by the connection between dreams and waking life, celebrating the compassionate integration of our light and dark sides into a fully realized vision of the self. Sanborn’s songs are inspired by happy moments of life that many of us can relate to—dancing in the kitchen with a child, for instance—and balance these against our doubts, anxieties, worries. The music is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s collaborations with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, a deep collaboration between songwriter and arranger at the intersection of jazz and songwriting. This expanded performance of Shadow Work is a continuation of the project Sanborn has presented through PJCE Online in the summer of 2020 and at the 2021 Montavilla Jazz Festival.

Lineup: Marilyn Keller, vocalist, lyricist; Darrell Grant, pianist, composer; Rebecca Sanborn, vocalist, lyricist, composer; Douglas Detrick, arranger (songs by Sanborn), artistic director; Bryn Roberts, Dylan Hayes, Ezra Weiss, arrangers (songs by Keller/Grant); Lee Elderton, soprano sax; John Savage, alto sax; Tim Willcox, tenor sax; Mieke Bruggeman, bari sax; James Powers, trombone; Chris Shuttleworth, trombone; Ryan Meagher, guitar; Jasnam Daya Singh, piano; Eric Gruber, bass; Ji Tanzer, drums; Machado Mijiga, drums.

The Heroine’s Journey is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

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