PJCE Album Release

PJCE Records, a grassroots recording label documenting the wide variety of original music being created by Portland area jazz composers and improvisers, has a new release coming out at the end of the month. Pianist/composer Ezra Weiss, bassist Jon Shaw, and drummer Tim DuRoche combine different ends of the jazz gene pool to create the EP, “Amazing Life.” Available on pre-order prior to the Friday, September 30 release date at bit.ly/PJCEAmazingLife, it is a rich murmuration of sound that reflects the deep relationships of its creators.

The warmth and mutual respect between this Portland-centric group of players and composers lie at the core of “Amazing Life’s” organic vibe. Weiss and DuRoche share a 20-year friendship despite, operating in parallel jazz universes; Weiss more straight-ahead and DuRoche more “out.” Both Weiss and DuRoche have played with Shaw for years, with DuRoche and him often alongside saxophonists/composers Reed Wallsmith and Joe Cunningham. Shaw’s versatility made him the perfect bridge between Weiss and DuRoche’s approaches. Wallsmith and Cunningham, known for their melodic and deeply human music, were natural composers to contribute to the project. Weiss then brought in the work of his musical theater collaborators, The Bylines, the performing and composing duo of Reece Marshburn and Marianna Thielen. 

Looking at the center of this stylistic Venn diagram, DuRoche reflected, ”What resonates so much for me with this are the space, nooks and crannies, and contours that evolve—through patient listening, mutual affection, and overall cinematic quality.” As for Weiss, he hopes that listeners find “the perfect way to sit with a glass of wine for half an hour.” Listeners familiar with Weiss, DuRoche and Shaw will likely be surprised to hear them in this context, giving each other the support and freedom to stretch into unfamiliar shapes.

Weiss, Shaw and DuRoche hope that listeners will find empathy, healing and a genuine outreach of emotion in the project, which certainly contains their own processing of the pandemic experience. DuRoche, in particular, hopes listeners will find, “A surrender. Not giving up or giving in, but an invitation to a different kind of generosity amid so much noise in the world.”

A release concert will take place Tuesday, October 4 at The Old Church near Portland State University. 

Photo by Douglas Detrick

PJCE Album Release

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