Griggs - Biography (PDF)
Steve Griggs began
playing saxophone through a 5th-grade public school band program in
Columbia, Missouri. His first professional gig came during Junior High
School where he and his friends jammed at a boat show. During High School,
Steve sang lead vocals in a band covering funk, rock, and pop songs
for proms in central Missouri.
Two years of study
with Lynn Clock at Interlochen Summer Music Camp led to Steve's enrollment
the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana. While earning a Bachelor
of Music in Saxophone Performance, Steve studied with Willis Coggins
and Ron Dewar. Steve performed frequently with Ray Sasaki in a quintet
that transcribed classic tunes from the Blue Note catalog. Steve also
performed regularly at Nature's Table in John Scott's quintet. John
was a classmate of Herbie Hancock and wrote The Maze on Herbie's Blue
Note debut record. Steve collaborated with guitarist Mark Dziuba, dancers
Shelly Masar and Debbie Noble to present improvized dance/music concerts.
Steve recorded a cassette album Five in the Sky with Mike Kocour, Dan
Anderson, and Jeff Stitely playing all original compositions. Steve's
first gig in Chicago was with pianist Laurence Hobgood.
Steve moved back to his home town of New York City. He performed with
Cindy Blackman and the Great American Saxophone Phantasy, a saxophone
quintet that included Jerry Dodgian. During a tour in Illinois, Steve
recorded a second cassette album Shadows: The B3 Band with Mike Kocour
and Jeff Stitely playing all original compositions.
After earning an
MBA at Pace University, Steve moved to Seattle and began performing
with the Jim Knapp Orchestra and Milo Petersen and the Jazz Disciples.
Steve recorded two CDs with Elvin Jones in 1998. The band included Jay
Thomas, Phil Sparks, and Milo Petersen. Steve created Hip City Music
and released the albums as Jones for Elvin - Volume 1 and 2. The CDs
received national airplay and were also played by Voice of America.
Jim Wilke recorded Steve's third release Live! at Jazz Alley which climbed
to #17 on the Gavin national jazz chart. Steve attended Dave Liebman's
Saxophone Workshop and performed original music dedicated to Elvin Jones.
Steve's recent projects
involve musical settings of poetry and arrangements of Brazilian music
for chamber jazz ensemble. Steve won a Longfellow Chorus Award of Distinction
in the 2010 Longfellow Chorus International Composers Competition for
his setting of the poem "Moonlight". Steve is planning a trip
to the Villa-Lobos Museum in Rio to study scores in the museum's archives.
In addition to activities
as an artist, Steve wrote the membership database system for Earshot
Jazz, coauthored a focus group report on collaboration between business
and arts organizations for Allied Arts, and earned a Certificate in
Arts Management from the University of Washington. Steve is cited in
the Coltrane Reference for his research into Coltrane's recordings in
Seattle. Steve's also works in Information Technology for clinical research
and led software development teams at Pfizer, Immunex, and Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center. Steve serves as Secretary for the Board of Trustees
at Spruce Street School.