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Steve Griggs - Projects

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Past Productions

Cancao Carioca: Song from Rio

Read the program notes.

Welcome and Bemvindos!

Following last Fall's concert of Brazilian Serenades, I decided to
continue exploring the music of Brazil and the possibilities of writing for a small chamber jazz ensemble. The Museo Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro heard a recording from the last concert and is enthusiastic about my research and future projects. I hope to present concerts each March and November, and look forward to sharing much more music with you.

This week is the 113th birthday of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. To honor his memory, tonight's concert is a journey through Rio's music history-from the roots of urban dance in Ernesto Nazareth's tangos more than a century ago, through the flowering of concert music at the pen of Villa-Lobos, to the cool popular songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova. Each of these composers declared their love for the city of Rio through not only words but melodies, rhythms, and harmonies. Tonight's concert will also include composers who, while not natives of Rio, were so moved by the city's sounds and feelings that they let Rio speak through their work.

Not only do I love Rio for its marvelous music, my favorite Brazilian export was born there-my wife Doris Kogan. Ever since we met 28 years ago, she has been my muse. Tonight I will share with you one of the first songs I wrote under her spell, another anticipating the birth of our son Ruben, and a third longing for our return to the city of her birth. To her loving parents I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude. Thank you Marcos and Jenny for including me in your family and sharing with me the best of Brazil.

I am extremely grateful to have my mother and brother in the audience this evening. They traveled great distances to share this evening with us. I wish my father were still alive to see how much fun we are having.

All of the music on tonight's program from Nazareth, Milhaud, Villa-Lobos, and Jobim were originally written for piano. This gave me room to re-imagine the musical gestures and compositional devices while orchestrating for winds, strings, and percussion. Almost all of the pieces tonight are short gems without extensive development. In general, melodies were left intact, but tempo, meter, rhythm, and harmony were fair game to re-imagine based on my musical tastes. This is music I enjoy hearing and playing. I hope you enjoy it as well.



Jeff Busch - percussion
Jeff studied percussion in England and Brazil. His latest project is Drums and Voices-Contemporary Spirituals with Pat Wright from the Total Experience Gospel Choir and is funded by a King County Arts grant.

Marco de Carvalho - guitar
Marco is a native of Rio de Janeiro and graduate of the city's Music Conservatory. He traveled to several cities in the US before settling in Seattle. He appears on numerous soundtracks and recordings including three CDs featuring his own compositions. His newest recording is entitled Cancoes.

Louie Richmond - cello
Louie studied cello with Orlando Cole, attended the Eastman School of Music and received a Masters in Cello Performance from Temple University studying with Lorne Monroe. He was a member of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C and came to the Northwest to teach cello and chamber music at the University of Puget Sound and was the founder and Musical Director of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra for seven years.

Steve Griggs - saxophone
Steve recorded two CDs in Seattle with Elvin Jones and is featured on the soundtrack the Bungie/Microsoft video game Halo 3: ODST. Steve's won a Longfellow Chorus Award of Distinction in the 2010 Longfellow Chorus International Composers Competition.

Susan Pascal - vibraphone, marimba
Jazz vibraphonist Susan Pascal has performed throughout the United States and Canada, and recently completed her third tour to Singapore. She has played for motion picture soundtracks including The Blind Side, Office Space, and Eulogy, and recently collaborated in performances with the Seattle Baroque Orchestra.

Phil Sparks - bass
Phil is a faculty member of the UW Jazz Studies program, named Northwest Instrumentalist of the year in 1996 by Earshot Jazz, inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in 2009, and was featured in a cover story in the May 2009 Earshot Jazz Magazine.

Tom Varner - French Horn
Tom teaches at Cornish College, appears on over 50 recordings, and has ranked high in Down Beat critics polls for many years. His latest recording Heaven and Hell is on Omnitone.