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Work Samples

Better Left Unsaid

An original song by composer/pianist Alan Blackman set to drone footage by visual artist Taco Hornbaker.


Trio playing our arrangement of the Porgy and Bess classic!


Original composition by the trio


About Alan

Baltimore City

Alan Blackman's picture
Baltimore based pianist and award-winning composer. He and his ensembles have performed at Blues Alley, the Kennedy Center, and many festivals and venues from San Francisco to New York. He was selected to be part of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center as well as residencies at The Banff Centre, Millay Arts and the Avaloch Music Institute. Alan has received over 10 grants from the Maryland State Arts Council in jazz composition, jazz performance and world music as well as the... more

Once upon a prairie (Winner of the MAP FUND grant for 2022-24)

ONCE UPON A PRAIRIE is a unique multimedia exploration of the loss of the American grasslands to fracking. The story is told by the musical juxtaposition of roots Americana and improvisational jazz. The siren call of the pedal steel guitar unifies this musical vision and symbolizes the beauty and the desolation of these unique lands. Just as places like North Dakota wrestle with the cost of the blighting of the land, the musical compositions of this project will seek to unify the seemingly unrelated and mostly unexplored sonic borders between country and jazz. Ultimately, this endeavor seeks to harmonize the beauty of nature and the ugliness of industrial progress in a way that supports the hopeful future and the coming together of disparate groups. The live concert will feature projected images of new photography commissioned specifically for this project by renowned photographer Jennifer Hughes. Also, a partnership with a non-profit specializing in the preservation of this landscape will be a key component to fulfilling the mission of this project. The dream is that a unique musical hybrid, aided by compelling visual imagery, can capture both the beauty and the dystopian reality of the current situation, thus making the case for change and the need for future preservation.
After spending time with each set of images or video, I compose musical works that programmatically tell the story of what the viewer is seeing. During live performance, the images are projected and, in some cases, timed with the music. Audiences have loved the pairing of the two mediums and commented frequently on the enhancement of the emotion and moods that result. Moving away from solely performing my original music into this multimedia world has been an important step in my development as an artist and a professional. I am eager to take what I have learned and apply it to this latest concept.

The Coastal Suite (CMA New Jazz Works Grant Commission)

A programmatic long-form suite with equal parts written and improvised. It represents a 24 cycle from pre-dawn until twilight at a remote beach. This work is commissioned by the Chamber Music of America and will feature Donny McCaslin, Rogerio Boccato, Frank Russo, Max Murray, and the composer-pianist Alan Blackman. World Premieres in Baltimore and New York. This work is performed alongside projected images of coastal art by renowned Shetland Island artist, Ruth Brownlee. It was featured on NPR's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Sacred Spaces

For some, the sacred spaces are religious edifices, built as spires towards the heavens. For others, Nature itself is the one sacred space. As a trio, we have always considered the stage as a sacred space. Under ideal circumstances, it’s a place where you can fully be yourself and work collectively towards a shared output where the sum is better than the parts. So during the height of the pandemic, we reserved three days at an amazing modern synagogue Temple B'Nai Israael(another sacred space!) to record new music and improvise in new directions. The results and even the process were a salve for our souls. 

Chapter Three

The latest musical recording from Blackman Murray Russo features original compositions from pianist Alan Blackman and guest artists Gilad Hekselman and Baker Award winner Todd Marcus! This is the third installment of original music put out by this special trio. The glowing reviews are in...

“...It’s poetry in slow motion, words translated into sound...”     — All About

“...there is something here, a beauty, that is captivating. [Their music] will be in rotation at my house for a long while...”     — Joe Locke

“This group seems to be carried away by the music itself, taking our daydreams along for the ride.”     — Robert Sutton


A musical and photographic excursion through 8 of the most unique natural phenomenon on Earth. Ranging from the Aurora Borealis to Crepuscular Rays to the Murmuration of Swallows, unique original musical compositions tell the story of each occurrence with programmatic beauty.

Pre-production Late 2017

A dream within a dream

An exploration of the romantic early period of Edgar Allen Poe's poetry presented with dramatic readings and original music by Alan Blackman. This concert features a unique twist where bits and pieces of the performance are sample "live" on the spot and used as a backdrop for the reception that follows.

Connect with Alan

Alan's Curated Collection

View Alan's favorite works from other Baker Artists