The 103-year-old Panama Hotel in Seattle’s International District hosts a series of free admission jazz concerts at 2:00pm on Saturdays, August 3, 10, 17, 24, September 7, 14, and 21. The music program composed by Steve Griggs springs from the building’s history as a hub for Seattle’s Japanese American community, proximity to Seattle’s legendary Jackson Street jazz scene, and setting for Jamie Ford’s novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
Ford’s story revolves around an imaginary record of “Alley Cat Strut” by the “Patriarch of Seattle Jazz,” pianist Oscar Holden, which is lost in a trove of unclaimed Japanese American personal items stored in the Panama Hotel’s basement during World War II. Audiences will hear Griggs’ rendition of this fictional song during the performances.
“This project brought me closer to some hidden Seattle history,” Griggs says. “I’m excited to share this music and the stories behind it.”
The ensemble includes trumpeter Jay Thomas, saxophonist Griggs, vibraphonist Susan Pascal, guitarist Milo Petersen, and bassist Phil Sparks.
Griggs’ previous work includes sold out concerts of Heitor Villa-Lobos inspired jazz, recordings with drummer Elvin Jones, featured saxophone solos on the Halo 3: ODST videogame soundtrack, and award winning musical settings of poetry.
This project is made possible by a generous grant from the 4Culture Historic Site Specific program.