I like to figure out ways to connect the classroom with the real world. So, many musicians who I’ve mentored I’ve also hired them for gigs. I feel like the best way for young musicians to get good experience is to get on the band stand and do it. It isn’t all about just taking a class or getting a degree, you’ve got to do it for real.

George Colligan

From the Executive Director

In jazz music, each note flies, sometimes a like a butterfly, sometimes like a cannonball, out of more than a century of history and tradition. That lineage grounds us in the past as we venture into the ever-changing future. Individualism balanced with collectivism, an embrace of rule-breaking creativity, and a completely unique framework for approaching music are among the values originated by Black American artists and now practiced around the world, and have been consistent from the beginnings of jazz to the present.

It is the mentors of our music that make this continuity possible. Recordings are indispensable, as is the written note, but we are social creatures. We learn something from a mentor’s spontaneous reaction in the moment that can’t be learned from a book or from a recording. After all, a book can’t nod in approval, a recording can’t offer advice on how to improve.

This concert honors the tradition of mentorship in jazz, and the incredible mentorship provided to Portland’s scene by George Colligan in particular. We’re lucky to have a musician like Colligan in Portland, who brings a wealth of experience and creativity from all over the world to Portland stages. And he shares those stages intentionally with many of our young musicians, just like he does tonight. We were glad to provide a platform for yet more mentorship, original composition, and a return to the stage for this ensemble. Thanks so much for joining us!

– Douglas Detrick

Fredson the Jeffy – 7:30 pm opening set

George Colligan – piano, compositions
Lisa Lipton – clarinet and bass clarinet
Micah Hummel – drumset

Selections to be announced from the stage.

We will take a 20 minute intermission following this set.

Album Pre-Release

Pre-order the studio album today! Includes a CD of a past Colligan PJCE Records release for $10, tonight only. Purchase at the merch table by the entrance.

Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble featuring George Colligan – 8:30 pm


  • Mitchell by Quinn Walker
  • Here Comes Now by Wes Georgiev
  • Fathers and Sons by George Colligan
  • Answers in Time by George Colligan, arr. Carlos Andres Moreno, with Anna Meyer, voice.

We’re honored to give world premieres of two new pieces and a new arrangement. Quinn Walker and Carlos Andres Moreno are both PJCE Young Jazz Composers program alums, and Wesley Georgiev makes his PJCE debut. Fathers and Sons was commissioned by PJCE in 2016 for the Montavilla Jazz Festival, whom we thank for helping to bring this piece to life!

Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble personnel: 

  • George Colligan – piano
  • Joe Manis – soprano saxophone and flute
  • Machado Mijiga – alto saxophone
  • Tim Willcox – tenor saxophone
  • Mieke Bruggeman – bari saxophone
  • Noah Simpson & Quinn Walker – trumpet
  • Adriana Wagner & Lars Campbell – trombone
  • Ryan Meagher – guitar
  • Carlos Andres Moreno – drums
  • Christian Ramirez – bass

From the Composers:

Quinn Walker on “Mitchell”

When I started listening to jazz music I wanted to immerse myself in the new exciting language that I personally discovered. While I learned a lot from this period of listening I unintentionally listened to artists that didn’t play jazz less and less. Joni Mitchell is an artist that pulled me out of my habits and made me look at music in a different way. Her work as a lyricist and ability to blend styles has made me consider new musical possibilities in my own music that I have never considered before. This piece was written during a period when I was intensely listening to Mitchell, specifically her 1976 record “Hejira”.

Wes Georgiev on “Here Comes Now”

Here Comes Now is conceived out of collaborative thought between different generations of creators. Earlier in time, I look at some of the pioneering anarchist thinkers such as Jacques Ellul, who examined the origin and future of our industrial society. A bit further forward, I’ve learned a great deal from Ken Kesey, perhaps the most prolific storyteller our plush, green Willamette Valley has ever known. The existing climate catastrophe, albeit in its early stages, will surely reshape the paradigm over the next several hundred years. Envision some of Oregon’s timber towns which thrived through 60’s and 70’s; now atrophied due to narcotics and a dying industry. Overgrown ivy sprawling over old mills, train tracks beginning to rust from decades of rain. A reality where nature prevails comes.

Carlos Andres Moreno on his arrangement of “All In Time” by George Colligan, featuring vocalist Anna Meyer:

I was originally introduced to this composition by George Colligan over a year and a half ago while in one of his PSU combos, and I quickly became a fan of the simple yet complex melody and harmony. I always gravitated to the lyrics in the song “Turn the TV off and let the silence bring you answers in time” and I used that as a main mantra while brainstorming the story arc of my arrangement. I tried to capture the tension of all of those numbing distractions that we find surrounding us in our lives, followed by the surprising energy that can come from focusing our priorities, being in the moment, and taking initiative.

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