Gig Recap (With Video): Jason Parker Quartet at the Ballard Jazz Walk

by Jason on November 21, 2009 · 4 comments

in Gigs

Ballard Jazz Walk Banner

Ballard Jazz Walk Banner

Last night the Jason Parker Quartet was featured at the Ballard Jazz Walk. Organized by the great Seattle record label Origin Records, the Jazz Walk has become one of the premiere showcases for jazz musicians from Seattle and beyond. In addition to the JPQ, this year’s festival featured the likes of Pete Christlieb, Hadley Caliman, Brent Jensen, Greta Matassa, Thomas Marriott, The Teaching and many others.

We played at the Salmon Bay Eagles Club with our good friends The Teaching. Somehow, I didn’t exactly put it together that it was an actual Eagles Hall, having never been there before. When I walked in, I felt like I was transported back in time! Upon my arrival, I was the youngest person in the room by a good 20 years, save for the bartender, Katie, who was very nice and welcoming. I felt hugely overdress in my black suit, and had a feeling it might turn into a “Blues Brothers”-type situation! But after being quizzed by some of the octogenarians about the music we were going to play, I was offered home made fish and chips and welcomed into the fold. And when folks with Jazz Walk badges started to stream in I knew all was going to be well.

Josh, Evan and I were joined by drummer Jeremy Jones, as our regular drummer, D’Vonne Lewis was playing with his band McTuff down the street. We also had the pleasure of having our good friend Cynthia Mullis join us on saxophone for most of the set. The crowd was responsive and complimentary, and I sold a bunch of copies of our new CD afterward.

It was a real honor to be asked to participate in the festival this year. Almost all of the acts featured are on Origin Records, and traditionally it’s a big showcase for the label. We are not an Origin artist, and frankly I was surprised to get the call. Origin is the big daddy of the jazz world here in Seattle and it was kind of validating to have them ask us to play. And the great thing about playing on a festival, as opposed to a one-off gig we book ourselves, is that there is a built-in audience, many of whom had never seen us before. All but one of the people who bought a CD from me were people that were seeing us for the first time.

And, I used my “pay-what-you-can” model again, and all but one of the purchasers paid full price. I’m really digging this way of selling, and I’m seeing concrete results. I have been consistently selling more CD’s per gig since offering them in this way. Try it and let me know if it works for you!

I was able to catch the first song-and-a-half on video before my hard drive filled up, so below you will find the first tune we played, Paul Desmond’s “Wendy”. You’ll notice that you don’t see Evan until the very end…he was racing over from a previous gig and arrived half-way through the song.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ed Lee as on TH November 21, 2009 at 2:57 pm

With “Wendy” good audio balance with keyboard but the drums were shooting shots that were punching holes in your trumpet rendition. Too, I liked your stage presence and appearance in suit with loosened up look (open neck) as if you were cooling out … as you were. You may be on your way up!

Ed Lee as on TH November 21, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Moderation ??? It’s like it is, and I can’t do anything about it. Your venue happened to be just right for you in this instance …
“octogenarians” perhaps are more appreciative of music than a lot of other groups, at age 73 I’m close … and I’m now immersed in it, albeit it was never my primary vocation … but a fun secondary one along through past years.

cynthia mullis November 22, 2009 at 9:52 am

Hey Jason: fun playing with you on Friday, as always. Now I can say I’ve played in an Eagles club!

Here’s some interesting history on the F.O.E. via Wikipedia:
The Fraternal Order of Eagles was founded by six theater owners sitting on a pile of lumber in Moran’s shipyard (the Moran State Park on Orcas guy) in Seattle, Washington. They were competitors who had come together to discuss a musicians’ strike. After deciding how to handle the strike, they agreed to “bury the hatchet” and form an organization dubbed, “The Order of Good Things.” Early meetings were held on local theater stages and after taking care of business, attendees rolled out a keg of beer and enjoyed social time. Touring theater troupes are credited with much of the Eagles’ rapid growth. Most early members were actors, stagehands and playwrights who as they toured, carried the Eagles story across the United States and Canada.

There’s a lot more to the story but this is a good start!

Lee Bennewith January 11, 2010 at 5:35 am

Well my honest response is … just like so much of what I play … bland, ‘safe’ and I couldn’t hear any interesting ‘jazz’ notes on the dominants. Your rhythm was not in question and it was a species of lyrical playing which I also prefer, however if you listen to Chet (later in his life) he manages note choices that surprise and thrill the ear. I search for answers vis a vis making larger intervals, trying to hear the opportunity for diminished scales (to add the necessary tension) and then the use of space and sequences to build a meaningful structure into the solo. Can’t say I often come anywhere near those goals … but having the concept helps me make progress. All the best from HK

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