A double bill concert of original songs by Marilyn Keller, Darrell Grant, and Rebecca Sanborn with the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble. This project was developed and funded in two phases with support from Blackfish Gallery and the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Douglas Detrick was the creative director, grant writer, and music director.

Project Components

  • Commissions of new music
  • Arrangements songs for large ensemble
  • Livestream video
  • Concert at Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland, OR

Douglas Detrick’s role in the project

  • Creative director, music director
  • Arranger for Rebecca Sanborn songs
  • Grant writer

About the project

These two song cycles began separately as small group projects during the pandemic. The content of the music was very different, but were united by the fact that each lead artist was a long-time presence in Portland’s music scene, but was better known as a supporting artist than as a creative leader. The Heroine’s Journey brought Marilyn Keller and Rebecca Sanborn into the foreground as leaders in a powerful, woman-centered double bill concert.

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 as part of the gallery’s digital 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.

Photo by Kathryn Elsesser.