Darrell Grant has built an international reputation as a performer, composer and educator who harnesses the power of music to create change in Portland and across the country.


His large-scale works like “Step by Step: The Ruby Bridges Suite,” honoring the civil rights icon, and “The Territory,” which explores the geographic and cultural history of Oregon, are a testament to his ability to create works that connect with audiences beyond melody and harmony.

Darrell Grant performing live

Darrell Grant performing live


His brand-new project, the quartet MJ New, focuses on a smaller ensemble and is an homage to the music of John Lewis, Milt Jackson, Percy Heath, and Connie Kay. It is also a loving tribute to a dear friend — one particularly close to the KMHD family — Carlton Jackson.

Drawing from the continual evolution of jazz and the inspiration of the Modern Jazz Quartet, Grant incorporates his own classical influences and applies the original MJQ instrumentation to MJ New.

MJ New’s debut album “Our Mr. Jackson,” comes out Oct. 6 and celebrates the release with a performance on Oct. 12 at The Hallowed Halls in Portland. Details can be found online on the KMHD jazz calendar.

Listen to the conversation by clicking play at the top of this story.