The Territory

by Darrell Grant

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"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



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Portland Jazz Composers' Ensemble Portland, Oregon

PJCE Records is a grassroots recording label documenting the wide variety of original music being created by Portland area jazz composers and improvisers. We aim to provide an outlet to encourage the dissemination of new music in the area as well as fostering community within the jazz and improvised music scene in Portland. We release one album per month digitally and/or in limited CD pressings. ... more

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Track Name: Introduction
The Territory is ground, water, sky, and everything in between.
It is what was here before you came and what will be here after you are gone.
It is the bones, the sweat, the blood, the dreams,
the blessings, the harvests, the floods, the tears,
the rocks, the roots, the broken branches,
fallen leaves, and forgotten paths,
It is the songs of bug, bird, blizzard, wagon wheel,
salmon, elk, beaver, and berry.
It is the bank of the creek,
the bed of the river,
the stump in the ground,
and the memories of the elders.
The territory is the whole story–told and untold.
Track Name: Mvt. 5 - Chief Joseph's Lament
My son, my body is returning to my mother earth,
And my spirit is going very soon to see the great spirit chief.
When I am gone, think of your country.
You are the chief of these people.
They look to you to guide them.
Always remember…
Your father never sold his country.
You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home.
A few more years and the white men will be all around you.
They have their eyes on this land my son.
Never forget my dying words.
This country holds your father's body
Never sell the bones of your father.
Never sell the bones of your father and your mother.

So many miles
into the long ago…
All that was wild
courses below the ground.
So many hands
take what they do not own.
Scatter for years
all that our blood has sown

So many miles
into the long ago…
When we were wild,
rising to run the ground.
Sky father smiled
down on these bleached bones
Taught us to fly
carried away one by one.
Track Name: Mvt. 6 - Stones Into Blossoms
Mama where are my friends?
Will this nightmare end? When can we go home?
Patience daughter, gather up your tears
lest this dusty land turn our hearts to stone.

We are people without place.
Tossed like stones on a riverbed.
They ignore our deeds and condemn our race
for our heritage denied.
All our dreams stuffed in one suitcase
sink like stones to a riverbed.
“Shi kata ga nai” there are stones in our hearts.

We are people without place.
Tossed like stones on a riverbed.
In a promised land with a foreign face
for our heritage denied.
All our dreams stuffed in one suitcase
sink like stones to a river bed

Close your eyes turn stones into blossoms, stones into blossoms.
Track Name: Mvt. 7 - Sundays at the Golden West
‘round Mister Moore's Athletic club.
Finest game on the coast, so you just
have a gin and ease on back.
Leave your bizness cross the tracks.
Portland's only black and tan
Choc'late kiddies bring your man.

On Everett and Broadway.
there's nothing like it anywhere
The heart of the social scene
A place to mingle and mix,
You’ve got to be clean.

We're open to all comers'
Pullman porter or celebrity
This joint is always jumpin’
The place to be.