Project Description

Project Summary

This project will result in a performance of live music and spoken word at the Panama Hotel Tea Room. The venue capacity is 60 so the performance will be repeated to accommodate a larger audience. Ideally, 8 performances would occur on Saturday evenings August 3, 10, 17, 24 and Sunday afternoons August, 4, 11, 18 and 25. The maximum live audience would be 480. The event will be recorded for promotional use and potential commercial sale.


Jazz pianist Oscar Holden (1887-1969) was a major talent in Seattle’s musical history. He is pictured on the cover of Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle by Paul de Barros. Holden’s music also plays a primary role in the historic novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. But the sound of his music is buried deep in the subconscious of unrecorded memories.

The Panama Hotel is an important location in Ford’s novel where Japanese families stored intimate tokens in the basement while they were interred during WWII. One token was a fictional record by Oscar Holden with a saxophone solo by a character from the novel. Holden actually performed nearby at the Black Elks on Jackson Street.

This project will mine rich vein of Seattle’s jazz history along Jackson Street and the basement of the Panama Hotel to create new music inspired by Oscar Holden that will be performed in the Tea Room at the Panama Hotel. The information gleaned from research will create scenes through which to weave a new musical narrative.