Portland’s Jazz Bridge Artists

Posted on September 1, 2011


Meet the five Portland musician/educators who will share the best of Portland jazz with Khabarovsk, Russia this December.

Darrell Grant-piano

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.  He received his B.M in classical piano from the Eastman School of Music and an M.M in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami.


Charley Gray-bass, conductor

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 several other jazz artists and academic institutions around the U.S.  In 2008, Portland Jazz Orchestra recorded Good Morning, Geek, a collection of Gray’s original works for jazz orchestra.  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, and can be heard on the Kicks Band’s self-titled album and Gordon Lee’s Flying Dream.

Alan Jones-drums

A Portland, Oregon native, Alan Jones ranks as one of America and Europe’s most creative and powerful jazz drummers, composers, and teachers. He has performed and toured with a long list of jazz legends, appearing on over 40 recordings, including writing for his own ensembles.

Graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1984, Alan moved to New York City, Toronto, Vienna and Paris, appearing in Europe and America’s leading Jazz Festivals.  Tours, performances and recordings include:  Dave Holland, Ralph Towner, Randy Brecker, Charlie Mariano, Airto Moriera, Steve Coleman, George Cables, Kenny Wheeler and Lee Konitz.

After spending the last three years in Europe, Alan has once again settled in Portland and continues his work as a performer, clinician and private instructor. His excellence as a teacher and mentor for students has earned him engagements in Colleges and Universities all over the States, Canada, and Europe; leading Master Classes for beginning, intermediate, and advanced musicians, seminars for jazz ensembles, and private coaching. He is the founding director of AJAM, a music school that brings musical education to the small group setting, in the forward-thinking and innovative style of a “real world” jazz band environment.

Scott Hall-saxophone

From Portland, Oregon, Scott Hall is a saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, and winner of the 1994 North American Saxophone Alliance Young Jazz Artist competition. He has performed and recorded with a myriad of renowned musicians on both the local and international scene, including Jon Faddis, Arturo Sandoval, Peter Erskine, Jessica Williams, the Temptations, Jane Montheit the Oregon Symphony, Bobby Torres, Pepé and the Bottle Blondes, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Alan Jones, Randy Porter and David Friesen. With 15 years of teaching experience at grade school through college levels, Scott has been on the jazz faculty at Portland State University since 1997. He maintains an active teaching and performing schedule in the Northwest.

Marilyn Keller-vocals

 Marilyn Keller is a 27-year veteran of music and stage performance with a voice that is beyond category. Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Pop, Blues, whatever the genre, Marilyn is more than able to deliver flawless, emotional, heart-breaking vocals. Marilyn has built a career that takes her worldwide as a feature artist in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia and the UK for concerts, festivals, night clubs and recording work. Her magical voice can be heard on multiple recordings, movie sound tracks, commercials, documentary narratives and demos. Marilyn’s formative jazz training was as a member of the Mt. Hood Community College Vocal Jazz Ensemble and as the vocalist fronting the award-winning MHCC Jazz Lab Band. Marilyn joined the noted Black Swan Classic Jazz Band in 1997, quickly establishing 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”.

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