Work samples

  • Coastal Suite
  • 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
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… more

Once upon a prairie (Puffin Foundation and MAP FUND grant winner 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 Glen McClure. 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.

  • MAP_graphic_Once Upon A Prairie.jpg
    MAP_graphic_Once Upon A Prairie.jpg
  • North Dakota prairie
    North Dakota prairie
  • fractured-moonlight_15-track-151.mp3
  • fractured-moonlight.mp3

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.
  • mid-winter-gale.jpg
  • onesheetalantrio.pdf
  • Eddies and Pools
    from the Coastal Suite
  • Coastal Theme
    from the Coastal Suite by Alan Blackman
  • Blackman Murray Russo
    performance video of my current group
  • coastal_suite_flyer2.jpg
  • Coastal Suite Video
    encapsulates this wonderful new multimedia work into a 5 minute synopsis.

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. 

  • Sacred Spaces Cover Art
    Sacred Spaces Cover Art

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

  • Chapter Three Cover.jpg
    Chapter Three Cover.jpg
    Cover art from our latest CD
  • The Opening.mp3
    First track from the forthcoming CD, Chapter Three featuring Gilad Hekselman


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
  • Murmuration
  • aurora-borealis
  • red crab migration
    red crab migration
  • crepuscular.jpg

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.
  • stars-2.jpg

Turning Point

Fresh re-imagining of everything from Brahms to The Beatles to Peter Gabriel, combined with exquisite original compositions by leader Alan Blackman, this marks an auspicious debut recording for a group with limitless possibilities. 
  • turning point cover.jpg
    turning point cover.jpg
  • Blackman Murray Russo
    Blackman Murray Russo
  • BlackmanMurrayRussoFlyerPressQuality.pdf

The 2 Piano Project

documented recording of a series of two piano performances with guest artists including: Vardan Ovsepian, Sunna Gunnlaugs, Clay Giberson, and Harry Appelman. A second set is coming soon!
  • 2-piano-project.jpg
  • img_2978.jpg
  • fractured-moonlight_clay-and-i-despedida.mp3
  • fractured-moonlight_improv-2-vardan-and-i.mp3
  • fractured-moonlight_improv-2-vardan-and-i-2.mp3