The Jason Parker Quartet hit the road for a two-week tour in May 2010. We were equipped with audio, video and cameras to document the whole experience. You can find all posts about the tour here.Day 5 of the JPQ tour found us rising at 7am to drive from Berkeley to Bakersfield. That’s an ungodly hour for a bunch of touring jazz musicians, especially since we were at a jam session in San Francisco the night before. But we had to be at Cal State Bakersfield to give a masterclass and performance for our Twitter friend Jim Scully, who teaches in the jazz program at the college.
I met Jim through our mutual friend Andrew Durkin, and was thrilled when he invited the band to come play for and talk to his jazz students. I love to teach, and really dig the energy in a college jazz program. There’s so much excitement and eagerness to learn. I find it quite contagious and always look for opportunities to inspire and be inspired.
The day was mostly taken up by driving, but once we got to the college Jim took amazing care of us. He and the students were so welcoming, they put us up in an amazing hotel that served a free DINNER with beer and wine included! Folks in the Bay Area scoffed when we told them we were headed to Bakersfield, but it turned out to be one of the most pleasant stops on the tour!
And the masterclass itself was such a wonderful experience. The students were all terrific and eager to play, talk and hang. We played a few tunes for them (one is below), they played a few tunes for us, and then we all jammed together (also below). There was so much love and music in that room, and it was truly inspiring to us to be around them for a couple hours. I really feel like our music deepened as a result of the time we spent there.
We arrived a little early so we went to a local mall to get some lunch. While we were there, I asked the band what pearls of wisdom they wanted to impart in the masterclass, and cats got deep! We spent a lot of time on tour being goofy, but everyone really took this opportunity seriously and had something to say!
So with that I give you the video highlight reel from Day 5. Be warned…there’s some serious bombs dropped up in hrrr!
Here is our performance of Nick Drake’s “Three Hours”. This was a very special moment for me. I feel like the band really hit our stride with this performance. Evan’s bass solo made me cry…you’ll see that I’m speechless at the end, which rarely happens to me!
Here we are playing with a few of the students on Joe Henderson’s “Recorda Me”, featuring Chris on tenor, Merritt on piano, Anthony on drums and our host Jim on guitar. Check out D’Vonne on Percussion!
Big thanks once again to Jim Scully for hosting us and taking such good care of us while we were in Bakersfield. We have been referring back to that day constantly – it’s definitely one of the lasting memories of the tour!
And here is the list of things we listened to in the van on the drive today, with links to buy should you be so inclined:
1. Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
2. Bill Evans – The Best of Bill Evans on Verve
3. Joe Henderson – Lush Life
4. Gretchen Parlato – In A Dream
5. Devotchka – How It Ends
6. Jill Scott – Experience: Jill Scott
7. Marc Seals – American Songs, Vol. 1
8. Clifford Brown – Complete Blue Note Box Set
9. Ron Cater – Dear Miles
10. Thelonious Monk – Monk Alone The Complete Columbia Solo Recordings
11. Stevie Wonder – Stevie Wonder’s Greatest Hits
12. Reservoir Cats – Spirit of Mingus
13. Joe Henderson – Inner Urge
14. Jimmy Smith – Back At The Chicken Shack