Reading, Writing and Music
For 35 years, Lynn Darroch has written about jazz and other music as well as producing general arts features for The Oregonian, Willamette Week, Jazz Times and other magazines and newspapers. His book, “Rhythm in the Rain – Jazz in the Pacific Northwest” (Ooligan Press, Portland State University, 2015) covers jazz in the region – and how it was shaped by social, economic and geographical conditions – from its beginnings to the present.
His work on jazz also appears in books such as The Encyclopedia of United States Popular Culture (Popular Press) and Jumptown: The Golden Age of Jazz in Portland (Oregon State University Press). He edited the Jazz Society of Oregon’s monthly, Jazzscene, for seven years.
He also was commissioned to write the script for “The Journey of Jazz,” a history of jazz performed annually in Portland Public Schools by the Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute. In 2018, he was commissioned by Norman Sylvester to write a script he narrated on stage during the concert, “The Journey of Blues and Gospel in America.” In 2017, poet Emmett Wheatfall commissioned Darroch to write and record narration for the album-length story, “Welcome Home,” about a Black veteran returning to Brooklyn after the Korean War.
Darroch has also contributed articles to the Oregon Encyclopedia Project on Oregon artists, including several of African heritage: James Benton, Mel Brown, Marianne Mayfield, Thara Memory and Leroy Vinnegar. He led the film discussion series, “Looking at Jazz,” at the North Portland Library in 2007, and hosts a weekly show on KMHD 89.1 FM. He is President of the Board of Directors of the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble, which recently produced the concerts (and CD), “From Maxville to Vanport” and “Water Spirit: A Tribute to Jim Pepper.”
Darroch has also traveled extensively and studied in Mexico, Central and South America. He edited the book Between Fire and Love: Contemporary Peruvian Writing, and his second CD, “Beyond the Border – Stories of the Latin World,” presents tales about musicians and artists from the region. He has reported frequently on Cuban, Peruvian and other Latin music (as well as other World Music) for the Oregonian newspaper, and has reviewed bilingual and Spanish language plays for that publication as well.
He has presented lectures around the state on detective fiction through the Oregon Council for the Humanities Chautauqua program, and he was on the faculty of the English department at Mt. Hood Community College, 1989-2007. He also taught literature and composition at the University of Wyoming and Lewis and Clark College.aboration with the area’s top musicians, Lynn Darroch has developed a unique method of telling stories in an interplay with live jazz and Latin music, captured on three albums: Local Heroes/American Originals (2009), Beyond the Border – Stories of the Latin World (2008) and Jazz Stories Heroes of the Americas (2006). He has also made a series of musical story videos available on YouTube, including the recent New Windows An American Photographer in the Balkans. He has recorded and performed with nationally-touring artists such as Tom Grant, Carlton Jackson, Alfredo Muro, Darrell Grant and Randy Porter.
A commentator on jazz and other music, Darroch has written for publications in the Portland area and in nationally circulated magazines and newspapers since 1979. He edits the monthly magazine, Jazzscene, and hosts the weekly radio show Bright Moments! on KMHD-89.1 FM.
His work also includes chapters on music figures for The Encyclopedia of United States Popular Culture (Popular Press) and the history of jazz in Portland, 1965-present, in the Afterword to Jumptown: the Golden Years of Portland Jazz (Oregon State University Press). He also wrote the script for The Journey of Jazz, performed annually in area schools by the Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute. His involvement with Latin cultures led to the book, Between Fire and Love: Contemporary Peruvian Writing. Darroch taught in the English department at Mt. Hood Community College for 18 years, has published short fiction, and his work as a book editor includes The Jews of Oregon and Pottery Along the Willamette.
Darroch has performed widely, including such venues as the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival, the Portland Jazz Festival, Wordstock 06, The Kennedy School, Warner Pacific College, Mt. Hood Community College, and Multnomah County libraries.