This week, we at Racer Sessions are excited to be presenting Denzel Mendoza at his first Racer Session. Denzel is a Portland-based trombonist living and working in that music scene, touring the US regularly every year. He is known musically for his musical contributions to Haley Heynderickx, Kulululu, Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE), and most recently, GRAMMY award-winning ensemble American DREAMers, an ensemble made up completely of young people who qualify for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
This session falling where it did in the calendar, with the music standing for what it does, feels like kismet at work that is worth acknowledging. The current climate toward immigrants, undocumented citizens, and asylum seekers is downright terrifying and inhumane. It is more important than ever to stand up and acknowledge this.
Denzel will be presenting his new trio, Illegal Son, for his Racer Session, and will be joined by Milo Fultz (bass) and Daniel Rossi (drums). Support these musicians by coming out to their Racer Session! Music will begin at 8pm, jam session to follow. And please read on for some words from Denzel on Illegal Son and what to expect at the session.
“My name is Denzel Mendoza, and I am Illegal Son.
I am a Filipino National brought forth from Singapore, raised in Las Vegas, NV, studied in New York City, NY and currently based in Portland, OR. I have lived in this country for 19 years, a majority of my life. I have lived an American lifestyle since I’ve been in this country but on paper, I am far from American. I am Undocumented and I am proud of it.
Illegal Son is an interpretation of the Undocumented way of life through Sound and Music. Day to day there is no promise of a tomorrow, there is only hope and fear - the revelry of another day is what I hope for.
Processing life with the umbrella of being Undocumented consists of improvisation, constant back and forth of wondering what’s next; the music, the sounds, and ear of Illegal Son is improvisation. It’s insecure, it’s unstable, but hopeful.
Trombone, Upright Bass, and Drums are the foundation of Illegal Son.
Accompanying me will be Milo Fultz on Upright Bass, and Daniel Rossi on Drums.
Open Improvisation will go as follows: Play as if your life depended on it.”