Sunday, October 23, 2011

"The Jazz Bridge Project" Cultural Exchange to Khabarovsk

Darrell Grant
Darrell Grant is my colleague at Portland State University. He is a wonderful pianist, composer, 
educator, and all around great guy! He is putting on a concert this Thursday in Portland, and I'm hoping that this reprinting of the press release will help generate some business. This looks like a pretty exciting endeavor and I hope to see you Portlanders there!

"Bridge to Russia" is evening of music supporting "The Jazz Bridge Project" Cultural Exchange to Khabarovsk. It's taking place at 7:00 PM  on Thursday, October 27th at The Old Church 1422 S.W. 11th Ave, Portland. A pre-concert reception will take place from 6-7 p.m featuring traditional folk music and Russian hors d'oeuvres (along with complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks).Performers will include vocalist Marilyn Keller, pianist Darrell Grant, bassist Charley Gray,  drummer Alan Jones, saxophonist Marc Hutchinson, and some special guests.

Maybe you can’t gaze at the sunset on the banks of the beautiful Amur River in Khabarovsk, Russia.  But you can get a taste of it at this annual event presented by Portland-Khabarovsk Sister City Association (PKSCA).  This year we celebrate Portland jazz as five of Portland’s distinguished artists are joined by special guests in this fundraising concert.  Proceeds from the event will support "The Jazz Bridge Project," the first-ever jazz cultural exchange with Portland’s sister city in Russia. The concert will feature the world premiere of “The Amur Suite” A jazz suite in 7 movements composed by Darrell Grant, Charley Gray, Scott Hall, Alan Jones, Gordon Lee, Andrew Oliver & Ez Weiss.

Organized by the Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute at PSU, in cooperation with PKSCA, The Jazz Bridge Project will bring a delegation of distinguished Portland jazz artists: PSU professor and pianist Darrell Grant, PSU professor and composer Charley Gray, drummer Alan Jones, saxophonist Marc Hutchinson and vocalist Marilyn Keller to the Russian Far East for a ten-day goodwill cultural exchange. The performers will serve as ambassadors from the Pacific Northwest, presenting public concerts, giving presentations about jazz history, offering workshops and clinics at colleges and local music schools and interacting with members of the local and regional arts community.

Through local fundraising and community support the project has also collected teaching materials, including books, CD’s and DVD’s to support jazz education in the Khabarovsk region; commissioned 7 area jazz composers to create an extended original jazz suite based on Russian folk songs to be performed in Khabarovsk, compiled a collection of CD’s by Portland jazz artists to present as a gift to the city, and will create a video portrait of the Portland jazz scene to be shown in Russian schools and on television.

“This project is about building meaningful, ongoing connections between communities using the arts as a bridge.” says Grant.

Admission to "Bridge to Russia" includes a pre-concert reception from 6-7 p.m., featuring traditional folk music and Russian hors d'oeuvres (along with complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks). Tickets are $25, adults; $20, seniors; $15, students, and $10, children under 14. Maximum charge for a family is $60. Tickets are available at online at or at the door.


Since being introduced in 1988 as the pianist in vocalist Betty Carter's trio, Darrell Grant has performed internationally with Tony Williams Frank Morgan, Sonny Fortune, Roy Haynes and many others.  His seven albums as a leader have received both critical acclaim and topped jazz radio charts.  A professor at Portland State University since 1997, Darrell is the founding Director of the Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute.

Charley Grey
Charley Gray is the Director of Jazz Studies at Portland State University, where he conducts the Jazz Ensemble and teaches Arranging, Jazz Techniques, and Jazz History. He is the co-founder and director of the Portland Jazz Orchestra.  Having received his M.M. in Jazz Arranging and Composition from North Texas State University, his charts have been performed by the University of North Texas One O' Clock Big Band, the Kicks Band, Terrel Stafford, Dan Faehnle, Nancy King and the Pioneer Brass Quintet, among other jazz artists around the U.S. As a bassist, he has performed with the Bobby Torres Ensemble, the Kicks Band, the Carlton Jackson-Dave Mills Big Band, Latin Expression and Pepé and the Bottle Blondes.

Marilyn Keller
Marilyn Keller is a 27-year veteran of music and stage performance with a voice that is beyond category.  With a stylistic range that spans Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Pop and Blues, Marilyn has built an international career as a talented vocal artist.  She has toured in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia and the UK, performing  concerts, festivals, night clubs.  Her magical voice can be heard on multiple recordings, movie sound tracks, commercials, and documentary narration. Vocalist for the acclaimed Black Swan Classic Jazz Band since 1997, she has a loyal following in the Dixieland and Ragtime scene.  She is featured at the Jazz Worship Service at Augustana Lutheran Church every Sunday and can be seen frequently at restaurants, clubs, festivals and holiday events throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Her current solo release is entitled "At Last".

Alan Jones
Alan Jones is one of America and Europe’s most creative and powerful jazz drummers, composers, and teachers. He has performed and toured with Dave Holland, Ralph Towner, Randy Brecker, Kenny Wheeler and Lee Konitz. And others, and appears on over 40 recordings. He is the founding director of AJAM, a music school that brings musical education to the small group setting.  Jones holds a B.M degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Marc Hutchinson
Portland native and tenor saxophonist Marc Hutchinson is a graduate of Portland State University with a degree in Jazz Performance. He is an active member of the Portland music scene and has performed with such notable names a, Mel Brown,  Ron Steen, Dan Balmer, Ben Darwish's Commotion, and the D.K. Stewart Band, as well as with national artists Ingrid Jensen, Dave Douglas, Chris Potter, Jim Black, Don Braden, and Kenny Werner.


The Portland-Khabarovsk Sister City Association (PKSCA) was formed in 1988 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to foster international friendship through cultural and educational exchange and to facilitate social and economic ties between the citizens of our two communities. Over the past 23 years, PKSCA has undertaken a wide variety of projects, working with our Russian partners on issues of public safety, healthcare, environmental protection, music and graphic arts, public education and youth programs.


The Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute (LVJI) is an independent, self-supporting institute housed within the Department of Music in PSU’s School of Fine and Performing Arts.  LVJI celebrates jazz’ origins as an American art form that embodies the most noble aspirations of our national character. Named for Leroy Vinnegar, the “Master of the Walking Bass,” who after a legendary career called Portland, Ore., home for several years, LVJI serves as a catalyst bringing together the ideas, resources, and needs of a large community of students, scholars, educators, artists and music professionals.  By carrying out its programs in collaboration with other institutions and individuals that share its mission, including the non-profit arts community, schools and educational institutions, and the professional music community, LVJI seeks to impact communities throughout the state and the greater Northwest region.


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