From The Seattle Times:

At age 76, George Griffin, a local jazz pioneer, knows drumming.

These days, Griffin lives in a Rainier Valley housing complex for seniors of limited income. The slow movements there are a long way from the jazz clubs of his younger days.

But he’s finding a different kind of reward with his fellow oldsters. He’s become the music teacher to people who, in some cases, had never before touched a musical instrument.

“I can’t hang out in the clubs like I used to,” says Griffin. “My reward now is in seeing people play the rhythm.”

Griffin was 5 when he first started banging away at cardboard boxes.

He was 16, still a junior at Garfield High School, when he was playing professionally with the Dave Lewis Combo, a legendary Northwest group.

John Coltrane. Charles Lloyd. Miles Davis.

Griffin remembers them.

In the 1960s, he was in the house band at the celebrated Penthouse club in downtown Seattle and opened for those greats.

At this particular complex, the 208-unit Courtland Place at Rainier Court, there are no assisted-living services. It is part of the Senior Housing Assistance Group for “independent seniors.”

Continue reading at The Seattle Times.

Seattle Jazz