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Arts | Music | Oregon Art Beat

Jazz Pianist And Composer Darrell Grant

Producer: Eric Slade   Videographers: Nick Fisher, Tom Shrider, Michael Bendixen, Greg Bond, Todd Sonflieth, Sam Smith   Editors: Tom Shrider, Bruce Barrow   Audio: Randy Layton, Bill Ward, Steven Kray, Zack Carver-Gustin
Additional Photography: Oregon Field Guide’s Oregon Splendor   Archival Images Courtesy: Oregon Historical Society, The Oregonian, Oregon Experience’s Lift Ev’ry Voice

Jazz artist Darrell Grant believes strongly in a sense of place. This came about particularly when fate brought him to Oregon to take a job at Portland State University in 1997, after living in a lot of different places, including Manhattan where he realized his dreams as a jazz artist.

Darrell Grant in Forest Park

Darrell Grant in Forest Park


“[Oregon is] such an incredibly beautiful place to live,” said Grant, “and has this vital sense of community, and that’s part of what led me to explore this idea of ‘The Territory.’ How does it impact the way we live? And how I, as an artist, might be able to capture it?”

Grant’s composition into a concert-length suite wasn’t just inspired by the beauty and vibrancy of Oregon however. It also touches on the realities of Oregon history, its exclusion and segregation of communities. The goal was to explore the connection between music and place.

“If we do not learn from what we did before, if we do not firmly have in mind the lessons that we learned from what we did before, we will repeat them,” Grant said.



Oregon Field Guide, OPB

Work on ‘The Territory’ began back in 2012. The final composition with nine musicians explores themes like “Rivers,” the abundance, beauty and color of water; “Sundays at Golden West,” that touches on the history of exclusion laws in Oregon and the black community; and “New Land,” investing to make a difference by giving back, encouraging hope and courage.

For everybody, having a place that they feel like they want to invest in making a difference, it seems like a good thing, because we can draw from that place. And, we can then give back and … serve that place. I feel like that’s part of, you know, what we’re all meant to do.

Darrell Grant


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