The grades are in. The teaching studio is packed up. The instructions have been passed on to those covering my responsibilities. The "out of office" message is written. All that is left is to turn it on. I feel like a sprinter at the starting line, waiting for the gun to go off, only I’m the one who is meant to fire it.
"Pianist Darrell Grant is a busy man. When he’s not teaching or playing with one of his several bands, you can find him preparing a chamber music or classical piece, or addressing an audience at the Portland Art Museum or PDX Jazz Festival. Hear Darrell speak about his music and wonderfully hectic creative life as one of the prominent faces of Portland, Oregon’s thriving Jazz scene.”
"...he played with a lightness and a subtle swing, whether that was via a Gershwin-by-way-of-Cecil Taylor original or a positively breathtaking rendition of James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain,” which was almost Rachmaninoff-like in its romantic warmth."
Next weekend, I'll make my debut as a classical solo piano composer when the phenomenal British pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason is in residency with Portland Piano International (PPI). I was commissioned by to write a piece inspired by an existing work in the solo piano canon. I have long been inspired by Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Born in 1875 to a Sierra Leone Creole father and an English mother, Coleridge-Taylor was referred to as the “African Mahler.” His celebrated oratorio Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, based on the epic poem Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was as popular in its day as Handel’s Messiah.