Don Latarski & Rue de Blues featuring Marilyn Keller play The Jazz Station - Eugene, OR
- Steve Owen alto sax
- Marilyn Keller vocals
- Mark Schneider bass
- Jason Palmer drums
- Don Latarski guitar
Guitarist and composer Don Latarski is an American institution. His seasoned bandmates declare that nobody plays like him and with a reputation in finger style guitar circles cemented in the image of his guitar picks glued onto his fingernails—they are onto something.
Born in the 1950s, Latarski grew up outside of Detroit, MI, close enough to that Motown vibe to trade Little League games for guitar lessons at age 10. He relocated to Oregon to attend the University of Oregon, where he earned a music degree. He studied jazz and classical guitar in college, which proved to be a natural introduction to finger picking. U of O quickly hired him to head their guitar studies program and his life since has revolved around composing, recording, and teaching.
Latarski’s contribution to guitar playing cannot be understated—he has written more than 20 books on guitar instruction, and owns Crescent Studios in Eugene, where he is the audio engineer and producer. In addition to his dedication in teaching, Don has released 14 studio albums, one live album, and composed and recorded music for video games, short films, and radio programs. His quirky personality is best captured in his numerous video tutorials posted on YouTube and his Facebook page, including a recent outing, titled Mt. Hopkins Road Wind Guitar—complete with disclaimer not to try this at home. https://youtu.be/uKJQ0iz7drM. His musical experiments include building two different types of guitar-like instruments: the wind and water guitars. Both of these instruments can be heard on The River Suite, a 31 minute composition in 9 movements released by Heart Dance Records in 2018.
His music is always infused with a strong current of melody, harmonic exploration and rhythmic dynamism. The more you listen, the more you hear. The songs remind us of the power of music to renew our connections to self and nature.
Don’s uncanny eye for color, composition, and the under appreciated beauties of daily life are apparent in his many pursuits—hiking, photography, motorcycles, kayaking, and riverbeds. His latest release, Frozen Moments, is a gift from many of his recent travels through the American Southwest, the West Coast, and the Pacific Northwest and he captures much of the moods and sites that inspired his tunes in his travelogues on his website, GuitarsOutside.com, and in Facebook posts written in a rhythm that would have been at home with the Beat Poets of the 1960s. He combines his enthusiasm for guitar with his adoration for nature, all while teaching prospective players about the instrument he’s spent his life crafting a relationship with, and leaves an indelible impression on his audiences.
Marilyn T. Keller, 2016 Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame Inductee, is a 40-year veteran of music and stage performance in Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Pop, Blues, and theater, nationally and internationally. Her musical roots are diverse. Marilyn has built a career that has taken her as a feature artist to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Russia and the UK for concerts, festivals, nightclubs and recording work. Her voice can be heard on multiple recordings, movie sound tracks, commercials and documentaries. Marilyn's formative jazz training was as a member of the Mt. Hood Community College Vocal Jazz Ensemble and as the vocalist fronting the award-winning MHCC Jazz Lab Band. She can be seen frequently at clubs, restaurants, festivals and holiday events throughout the Pacific Northwest. She remains active, performing with Don Latarski, Darrell Grant, Tom Grant, Black Swan Classic Jazz Band, Pressure Point Band and the Augustana Jazz Quartet, among many others.
In 1997 Marilyn joined the Black Swan Classic Jazz Band, establishing a loyal following in the Dixieland and Ragtime scene.
Marilyn has been the vocalist for the Augustana Jazz Quartet, performing weekly for 28 years, with Ron Steen, Kevin Deitz and George Mitchell. Since 2004, Marilyn has performed with the band New Orleans Delight which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and they tour across Denmark and Sweden every summer.
In 2013 Marilyn debuted with Darrell Grant in his suite The Territory, the product of Darrell’s year-long research and writing around the themes of connection, art and place, and performed with many local and nationally known artists. In 2014 Marilyn also performed The Territory at The Jazz Standard in NYC, and as part of the PDX Jazz Festival.
Marilyn performs in Portland, at the annual Gospel Christmas. In 2011, Marilyn portrayed Ma Rainey in August Wilson's play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, at Portland Playhouse. In 2009 & 2016, Marilyn portrayed the roles of the Dormouse and the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, at The Northwest Children’s Theater and School. In 2018, Marilyn portrayed the Princess Who Kissed The Frog In DisEnchanted! The Musical, at the Elsinore in Salem. In 2017, Marilyn performed Darrell Grant’s Suite: “Step By Step- The Ruby Bridges Story” in New Orleans- for the Unitarian Universalist National Assembly (2017) and on June 1st, 2019, at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, DC. Marilyn is dedicated to music education and has worked with:
Dr. Paul Klemme, at Willamette University- choirs and jazz ensembles. Dr. Dean Luethi, at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. Marilyn has given clinics and master classes for the Newport Arts Council, Tigard High School, Rex Putnam High School, Grant High School and The American Music Program, as well as many other grade schools, middle school and high school choirs and bands.
Marilyn is Currently an Adjunct Professor at PSU, teaching Vocal Jazz Improvisation.