Read the original story in The Oregonian here.
8 p.m. Saturday, Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, 3203 S.E. Woodstock Blvd., free
First, you've got the musicians. Really good musicians. Darrell Grant, acclaimed jazz pianist, composer and Portland State professor, has assembled some all-stars for a concert Saturday that's part of Reed College's Black History Month celebration.
The Double Legacy Project will include drummer Brian Blade, saxophonist Steve Wilson, vibraphonist Joe Locke, bassist Clark Sommers, vocalist Marilyn Keller, trumpeter Farnell Newton and more.
"My favorite musicians in and out of Portland," Grant says.
Next, you've got the music. Grant will play selections from each of his albums, but the second half of the show will be the debut of "Step By Step," a nine-piece suite inspired by the story of Ruby Bridges, who in 1960 became the first African American student at a previously all-white New Orleans elementary school. The suite will include narration from actor Kevin Jones.
The idea for the story came from Rob Nelson, the inventor of Big League Chew, whom Grant plays tennis with. Nelson had heard the story from one of his kids, who'd learned it at school.
One of the more moving aspects of the story is how each day Bridges would be met at the school's door by her teacher, and they'd sit all day in an empty room -- the other kids having been pulled from school by their parents -- and work.
"There's a song called 'Come In' that's about that moment," Grant says. "'Come in the door and you will find a friend. There's so much anger in the world, you should know I don't see what they see.' It's a really intimate song."
Grant says he hopes to expand the project in the future.
"I'm so excited," he says. "It's definitely a culmination for me."