"The Territory" marks Grant's seventh CD as a leader and his first since 2007's critically acclaimed "Truth and Reconciliation," which was selected one of the top 10 CDs' of the year by The Village Voice jazz critic's poll. Featuring a nine-member ensemble that includes Grant's long-time collaborators Grammy-winning drummer Brian Blade, Grammy-winning saxophonist Steve Wilson and celebrated vibraphonist Joe Locke, as well as renowned cellist Hamilton Cheifetz, Chicago bassist Clark Sommers, Portland vocalist Marilyn Keller, trumpeter Thomas Barber, and bass clarinetist Kirt Peterson, “The Territory” captures Grant in an exciting 2013 world premiere performance presented by Chamber Music Northwest in front a sell-out audience at Portland's Kaul Auditorium.
In 2012, Grant was one of 11 artists to be awarded a prestigious New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America to support the commission and premiere of a new work for jazz chamber ensemble. His extended suite "The Territory" uses both improvisation and composition to ponder the unique Oregon experience, reflecting on the state’s historical heritage as well as the incredible and diverse landscapes of the region.
"The original idea for this piece came from my interest in the concept of ‘terroir,’ Grant describes, “and the connections between art and place,”. One aspect of place that Grant chose to highlight in “The Territory” is Oregon’s uneven history in relation to people of color. "As an African-American, I can't dismiss the irony of my claiming connection to a place whose constitution once expressly prohibited people like myself from living here," Grant says.
Invoking the spirit of Oregon's native peoples in its opening movement “Hymn to the Four Winds,” and "Chief Joseph's Lament,"
which is based on the historic Nez Perce leader’s controversial surrender to the U.S. Army, Grant’s view of the territory draws on the contrast between “the utopian myth of Oregon that persists in shows like‘Portlandia,‘ and the more conflicted truth of our history.” A movement called "Stones into Blossoms” looks at the forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II through the eyes of a small child, while the joyous “Sunday’s at the Golden West” celebrates a historic landmark in the heart of Portland's early African-American community.
Exploring a connection to place also led Grant to release the CD on Portland-based PJCE Records, and to develop a partnership with the Oregon Historical Society, which will receive a donation from the CD release concert, as well as a percentage of CD and download sales of The Territory. "As a steward of our stories, OHS serves a vital role in maintaining our sense of place,” Grant states. “And as a Portland jazz composer, I’m very pleased to be joining forces with artists in my own community to share this music.”
released November 10, 2015
Darrell Grant - piano
Brian Blade - drums
Clark Sommers - bass
Joe Locke - vibraphone, marimba
Marilyn Keller - vocals
Hamilton Cheifetz - cello
Thomas Barber - trumpet
Kirt Peterson - bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
Steve Wilson - flute, alto flute, soprano and alto saxophones
Recorded Live by Matthew Snyder at Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, July 6 & 7, 2013
Mixed and Mastered by Dean Baskerville @ Baskerville Recording
This recording was supported in part by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and by Chamber Music America's 2012 New Jazz Works Commissioning & Ensemble Development Program.
Thanks to Chamber Music America, Regional Arts & Culture Council, Chamber Music Northwest and to my family, friends, colleagues and Kickstarter supporters.
Special thanks to Brian Blade, Joe Locke, Steve Wilson, Clark Sommers, Marilyn Keller, Hamilton Cheifetz, Tom Barber, Kirt Peterson, Margaret Lioi, Jeanette Vuocolo, Ryan Meagher, Douglas Detrick, Billy Childs, David Shifrin, Elizabeth Harcombe, Kim Morris, Rebekah Phillips, Don Lucoff, Marianne Keddington Lang, Barrett James, Barry Stewart, Bryan Johanson, Charley Gray, Lynn Darroch, Mario Sandoval, Dmitri Matheny, Jason Shelton, Mom, Dad, Anne and Malcolm.
Very Special Thanks to Brad Mersereau, Kirby and Amy Allen, Nola Bogle Bill & Jan Madill ,and Bill Lang for their invaluable contributions to this project.
All lyrics and music are by Darrell Grant except "Chief Joseph's Lament" uses text attributed to Tuekakas, commonly known as Old Chief Joseph of the Wallowa Band of the Nez Perce.
"Hymn to the Four Winds" is based on a traditional Nez Perce chant.
"Stones into Blossoms" is dedicated to Nola Sugai Bogle.
"Sundays at the Golden West " is dedicated to the memory of Dick Bogle.
For lyrics, program notes, interviews and more information