Local Heroes / American Originals
In Local Heroes/American Originals, his third CD, writer Lynn Darroch brings the cultural history of Portland, Oregon, to life with musical stories presented in a carefully orchestrated interplay of words and live jazz. With music by nationally known artists Randy Porter (piano) and David Evans (tenor sax), this new collection is a rich musical and literary experience. Darroch's approach combines extended spoken word narrative with tunes by or associated with the subject of the tales; much of it is based on his work as a music journalist. The local heroes of Portland on this CD include Native American saxophonist Jim Pepper, pianist Warren Bracken, and ordinary people whose unheralded lives are equally emblematic of place and time. The other American originals profiled in these eight stories are the singer Betty Carter, pianist and composer Clare Fischer, the iconic Chet Baker, and - in a different slice of the American grain - William Faulkner's wife, Estelle. It was Faulkner who said, "The past is never over," and these fast-moving tales bring it to life in the theater of your mind. Expressive language and dramatic music make it an intimate and compelling place. Porter's piano and Evans' tenor sax fill the air with urgency and passion, improvising as they weave melodies among words that ride chord changes with them in a carefully arranged progression. Music and story move together, creating a unified soundscape.