Inspired by Seattle’s places and historical events, the Steve Griggs Ensemble plays music with a message. Griggs, a saxophonist, composer and writer addresses social injustice with music and words, telling the story of the International District’s Panama Hotel, where Japanese-Americans left their possessions when they were incarcerated in internment camps during World War II.
The ensemble also recounts the history of Joe Brazil, the saxophonist who introduced jazz to the University of Washington’s School of Music curriculum in 1968, but was denied tenure due to institutional racism.
The group has twice won the ASCAP/Chamber Music America’s award for adventurous programming of contemporary music. They currently have two CDs available: “Panama Hotel Jazz” and “A Cup of Joe Brazil,” both on the Hip City Music label.
Steve Griggs- tenor sax, Jay Thomas –alto sax, trumpet, flugelhorn, Susan Pascal- vibes, Phil Sparks-bass, Milo Peterson-drums