Siege of Cranes: Blue Cranes & PJCE Horns

PJCE kicks off the 2019-2020 mainstage season, fusing its eight-piece horn section with the iconic Portland band Blue Cranes for a collaborative concert featuring new arrangements by Reed Wallsmith, Joe Cunningham, Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFrianco, Anais Mitchell), Kyleen King, and Quinn Walker (who is an alumnus of PJCE’s Grasshoppers Young Composers mentorship program) of Blue Cranes compositions. Blue Cranes will both play on their own and with the PJCE Horns in five original arrangements for two sets at the Holocene (1001 SE Morrison) on Thursday, November 21 at 8pm. 

Among Portland jazz bands, none has a greater sense of itself than Blue Cranes. Where most jazz bands rely on shifting groupings of players, Blue Cranes have forged an ensemble sound, emphasizing the collective over the individual. Their Venn diagram of influences includes indie rock, free improvisation, and jazz, putting at its center "Rich melodies and dynamic interplay,” as the Los Angeles Times put it. Their tight-knit synergistic approach, dramatic musical vision, and compositional originality make them a perfect companion for PJCE, a rapidly growing organization committed to building an inclusive, creative, and verdant present and future around jazz in Portland.

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Ektah: The Unity Project

Jasnam Daya Singh plays piano and leads PJCE in a performance of his Ektah: The Unity Project, an evening-length piece dedicated to cultivating a collective sense of belonging. Presented in cooperation with PDX Jazz.

Singh's Ektah, commissioned by PJCE for the Montavilla Jazz Festival in 2017, is a multi-movement suite that incorporates a wide-range of tributaries of the jazz stylistic river—Brazilian choro and samba of Singh's country of birth, expansive European jazz and classical styles, and high-energy straight-ahead jazz. The piece embodies Singh's musical interests but also expresses personal truths drawn from his journey as an immigrant and eventual citizen of the United States and his conversion to Sikhism.

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Jimmie Herrod: Transgression and Transcendence

With “a voice like a beacon of hope” (Seattle Times) vocalist and composer Jimmie Herrod sings a collection of his own songs that acknowledge abuse he experienced as a child and discuss the transcendence from and consequence of such experiences for himself and survivors of abuse more broadly.

Jimmie Herrod is known increasingly around the world as a larger-than-life vocalist, having performed internationally with Pink Martini and having recently appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Matching poetic and melodic imagination with his technical prowess as a singer, Herrod steps forward in this concert as a composer as well.

In two parts, Herrod will present a collection of songs written originally for his undergraduate senior recital (Cornish College of the Arts - 2013) which depict the realization of the events which transpired and the subsequent internal dialogue. The second part will consist of new songs that illustrate life after trauma, a restorative perspective, correcting the idea of a broken image, and looking at oneself as whole.

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