On April 17, 2007 Origin Records of Seattle (www.origin-records.com) will proudly release pianist/composer/vocalist Darrell Grant's new recording, Truth And Reconciliation. This double CD, featuring John Patitucci, Brian Blade and guest stars Bill Frisell, Adam Rogers, Joe Locke and Steve Wilson, is Grant's dream project." Inspired by his reflections on artistic truth, and profoundly influenced by his study of the struggle for justice and healing in South Africa, Truth And Reconciliation pays homage to mentors, honors truth tellers, and celebrates beauty. After five critically-acclaimed recordings, Truth And Reconciliation is Darrell Grant's definitive creation.
Grounded in jazz, Truth And Reconciliation brings together influences ranging from classical, folk and soul. In addition to showcasing the masterful piano artistry that took Grant's five previous albums to the top of the radio charts, and earned his debut Black Art a selection as one of the Top 10 CD's of 1994 by the New York Times, Truth And Reconciliation highlights his unique voice as a composer on the album's nine originals; and features deeply personal re-workings of jazz tunes--Dizzy Gillespie's Algo Bueno," Betty Carter's Tight," the Jerome Kern classic The Way You Look Tonight," pop anthems-- Sheryl Crow's I Shall Believe," and Sting's King of Pain," as well as showcasing Grant's vocals, which are reminiscent of Keb Mo' and Milton Nascimento. Into this mix Grant masterfully weaves archival spoken word excerpts from historical figures like Gandhi, JFK, FDR, Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.
When listening to Darrell Grant (Betty Carter, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, Greg Osby), play, and sing, one phrase keeps coming to mind, organic beauty. Every essential note seems to grow directly out of his spirit and emotions. Like wonders of nature, Grant's playing and composing on Truth And Reconciliation comes at you as a complete, organic entity; nothing is missing, nothing is superfluous. It is through this entity that feelings of hope and joy come pouring through. I choose to believe in the power of humans to change the world. Art is the substance of our dreams and the medium through which resonates our most fervent hopes, highest aspirations, deepest truths, and most profound experiences, says Grant. He added, I believe that we who create art possess an extraordinary power to communicate, inspire, provoke, inform and to move others to transform society and themselves, and we bear the responsibility to use this power to affect positive change in our communities and the world."
In support of this mission to use music as a means to support positive change, Darrell Grant has created a network of partnerships with non-profit organizations that bring help and hope to communities. A portion of all CD sales will support the Truth And Reconciliation Project's partner non-profit organizations to further their work of positive change. These partnerships serve both to broaden the constituency for the music, and to enhance its relevance and purpose. This type of endeavor is not new for Grant. With each of his prior releases on his Lair Hill Records label, Darrell sought out and connected with non-profits whose mission and values resonate with each project. With 1999's Smokin' Java and the 2003 release Spirit, Lair Hill Records contributed revenues from CD sales, raised funds through benefit performances, and participated in awareness-building and publicity campaigns in support of organizations like Coffee Kids-a non-profit that supports families and children in coffee growing regions-the Oregon Children's Museum, Oregon Trail Red Cross, and other local and regional social justice endeavors.
Truth And Reconciliation partners thus far include Portland-based international humanitarian organization Mercy Corps (www.mercycorps.org), the transitional youth mentorship program P:ear (www.pearmentor.org), Oregon arts education program Artist's For the Arts, and others.
More on Darrell Grant:
Pasted above the keyboard on Darrell Grant's piano is a wrinkled post-it note containing two words, show yourself." These words are a daily reminder to me to search deeply for what matters, and to believe in the power of communication."
The words have led Grant on a path from pianist with jazz legends and in-demand New York sideman; to critically acclaimed bandleader and composer, to respected educator and singular solo artist. A musician, to quote Duke Ellington, beyond category."
Darrell Grant, born May 30, 1962 in Pittsburgh, grew up in Denver, Colorado in a musical family, and having begun piano lessons at age seven, quickly received honors for his prowess on piano. At 17 Darrell won a scholarship to the famed Eastman School of Music. After Eastman he pursued graduate studies in jazz at the University of Miami. In 1986 he relocated to New York City, where he broke into the jazz scene performing with Woody Shaw, Junior Cook, and Charlie Persip. At the same time he took advantage of New York's diverse musical scenes to work with artists as varied as Lesley Gore, Phyllis Hyman and the American Tap Dance Orchestra.
Darrell was introduced to international audiences in 1988 as the pianist with the legendary vocalist, Betty Carter. His first recording came in 1989, fronting the group Current Events. Playing funk, worldbeat and jazz, the band was my first attempt to put everything in one package." The group made one album for the Verve-Forecast label. Shifting his focus to mainstream jazz, Darrell quickly became one of New York's most in demand players, touring and recording with artists such as Frank Morgan, Sonny Fortune, Craig Harris, Greg Osby, Don Braden and Roy Haynes. In 1992 he replaced Mulgrew Miller as pianist in Tony Williams' quintet. In 1994 he released Black Art (Criss Cross), which was selected one of the top 10 jazz recordings of the year by The New York Times. Two subsequent small group recordings 1995's The New Bop (Criss Cross) and 1998's Twilight Stories (32 Jazz) received high critical marks, and spent several weeks at the top of the jazz radio charts. Yet at the height of an active touring and recording career, Darrell left New York in search of something more.
I was looking for a sense of community. It had gotten to the point where I was hardly in New York. While I enjoyed touring and performing in different places, I wanted to explore the possibilities of having an impact in one place."
Arriving in Portland, Oregon in 1997 Darrell replaced pianist Andrew Hill on the jazz faculty of Portland State University, where he is now a tenured professor. Embracing a leadership role in the musical life of the Pacific Northwest, he developed his gifts as an educator and entrepreneur. In 1999, he started Lair Hill Records and released Smokin' Java (Lair Hill). A swinging love letter to his newfound sense of community in the Northwest, it features all-stars Donald Harrison, Brian Blade and Joe Locke.
Darrell performs extensively as a bandleader and solo artist throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe in venues ranging from clubs to major jazz festivals. He has been a featured guest on the BET On Jazz Jazz Central" program, and has performed on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz" on National Public Radio. As a composer, Darrell has penned numerous gems, many of which are highlighted on his recordings as a leader. His commissions include the anthem for the 1998 Nike World Masters Games and a major Duke Ellington tribute for the Mount Hood Jazz Festival's celebration of the Ellington centennial. His new double CD recording, Truth & Reconciliation, will be released on Origin Records on April 17, 2007.