Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble and Musicians Union Local 99 unite to tell Oregon’s Union stories through song

Union Makes Us Strong amplifies workers’ voices and modern labor issues.

Find the full program here.

Join PJCE and Musicians Union Local 99 for a concert exploring the past and present of Oregon’s labor movements through newly commissioned jazz compositions and arrangements performed by PJCE’s 12-member ensemble and guest vocalist Marilyn Keller.

The free event will include premieres of compositions and arrangements by Kerry Politzer, Jasnam Daya Singh, Ryan Meagher, Lars Campbell, and Caroline Miller. Presented as part of the 2024 Biamp Portland Jazz Festival, the music will touch on the causes of timber, health care, and farm workers, among others. The Hallowed Halls is 21+ after 9:00 PM.

Please RSVP to secure your seat at this performance. A waitlist is available once all available RSVPs are filled. You will be notified if a spot is avialbale by email.

Kerry Politzer is a Portland-based jazz pianist, composer, and educator. She is on the music faculty of Portland State University, and she has taught at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University, the University of Portland, and the Oregon Jazz Workshop. Kerry leads Bossa PDX, a samba-jazz and bossa nova group for which she has transcribed dozens of classic arrangements from the original recordings. With this music, she has performed around the country at venues such as Jazz Forum Arts, the Black Dolphin, the Oregon Coast Jazz Party, Ellenburg’s Jazz in the Valley, and the Florence Wine & Jazz Festival, among other venues. Kerry has also headlined the Montavilla Jazz Festival and was a featured performer at the 25th Annual Gene Harris Jazz Festival. In addition to DIVA No Man’s Band, she has also performed with the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra, the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble, and the 1905 Orchestra. She is now at work on a project that pays homage to the great multi-instrumentalist and composer Jimmy Giuffre, with whom she studied at New England Conservatory.

Jasnam Daya Singh has participated as a pianist and band-leader in Jazz festivals all over the world: Brazil, Mexico, U.S.A. , France, Belgium , Japan , China and South Korea, to name a few, as well as shows and interviews in the most important Jazz radio stations in the country such as KRML in Carmel and KCSM in San Mateo, both in California. Jasnam has also performed extensively as a solo artist and sideman in Italy, Luxembourg, Italy, New York, Japan and Czech Republic. Born Weber Ribeiro Drummond in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1962, it was not until the mid-90’s that pianist/composer Weber adopted the stage name Weber Iago as a homage to the Roma people. Since he took Amrit (initiation in the Sikh Religion) in 2013, Iago has adopted the name Jasnam Daya Singh. Singh has recorded and performed with great luminaries such as Paul McCandless, Ali Ryerson, Kenny Stahl, Claudia Villela, Charles Loos, Marcia Maria, Alex Acuna, and Alphonso Johnson. Singh has released several albums including Children of the Wind Spring Will Stay Here. At the end of 2005, Daya Singh was commissioned by the Carmel Bach Festival to write his Jazz Concertino for Piano and String Orchestra which premiered on July 9th of 2006 in Monterey, California, and has since been performed by the Portland Chamber Orchestra. In 2009, Jasnam Daya Singh’s CD (still as Weber Iago) in duo with Jovino Santos Neto, received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Album.

Ryan Meagher (pronounced Marr) is a jazz guitarist and composer who grew up in San Jose, California. He has been working closely with the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble since 2013 and is now the organization’s Artistic Director. He is also a co-founder of the Montavilla Jazz Festival. He was previously Editor of the Jazzscene Magazine, and currently teaches at Mt Hood Community College, Willamette University, University of Portland and directs the jazz program at Lower Columbia College in Longview, WA. He has a total of nine albums as a leader, and has been a sideman on many more. His most recent release, AftEarth, is a multidisciplinary work that was featured in the October 2023 issue of Downbeat magazine.

Trained in both the classical and jazz repertoires, trombonist Lars Campbell performs with the Oregon Symphony and Oregon Ballet Theater orchestras; he also plays many of the national touring shows that pass through Portland. Lars was the co-founder of the Portland Jazz Orchestra, which he ran from 2005-2010. His discography includes appearances on Storm Large’s “Le Bonheur”, Pink Martini’s “Hang on Little Tomato”, Pepé and the Bottle Blondes’ “Pambrosia”, and Portland Jazz Orchestra’s “Good Morning, Geek”. He has also composed and arranged numerous works for large jazz ensemble, trombone quartet, and jazz sextet. Lars is the director of Instrumental Music at Clackamas Community College, where he directs the CCC Concert Band and the CCC Jazz Ensemble. He also directs the Concert Band Festival, the Instrumental Jazz Festival, and he teaches Midi Lab (Finale), Careers in Music, and other courses in the Music Department.

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.


PJCE members for the concert are: John Nastos alto sax, flute, and clarinet; Joe Manis soprano, flute, and clarinet; Mieke Bruggeman bari sax and bass clarinet; Gary Harris tenor sax; Greg Garrett trumpet; Paul Mazzio trumpet; Lars Campbell trombone; Chris Shuttleworth trombone; Dave Captein, bass; Christopher Brown, drums; Ryan Meagher, guitar; Kerry Politzer, piano; Jasnam Daya Singh, piano; Marilyn Keller vocals


*This event is available to patrons under 21 years of age up to 9:00 PM. Anyone under 21 will need to leave the performance before that time, preferably during intermission.

Safety, Parking, and Accessibility:

We recognize that COVID cases are rising, so please stay home if you are not feeling well. Mask-wearing is optional at The Hallowed Halls, and hand sanitizer will be available.

Street parking is available, please allow time to make your way to the venue.

The Hallowed Halls entrance is accessible via a ramp walkway.

Support for Union Makes Us Strong come from PJCE Sustainers, Musicions Union Local 99, the Music Performance Trust Fund, Oregon Nurses Association, The Holler Fund, Oregon ASFCME, and Northwest Oregon Labor Council.