The party was at LUCID Jazz Lounge in Seattle, which in only one year has become THE home for local jazz. Owner David Pierre-Louis is a huge supporter of the music and the scene and has opened his doors to the musicians, allowing us to do anything we can conceive of. If you’re in Seattle and haven’t been there yet, you gotta check it out.
Before the show even began it was standing-room-only. I was overwhelmed with the turnout and the support of friends old and new. When we got on stage to begin the show I took a minute to survey the scene and take it all in. Knowing that everyone in that room was there to celebrate this momentous occasion with us was truly humbling and incredibly gratifying. After all the hard work that went into producing the CD and planning the show this moment made all of that seem like a small price to pay.
And then the band hit. And oh my, did we hit hard! I had received a text from my pianist Josh Rawlings earlier in the day that said he had spent the day in the arboretum and was inspired and ready to bring it, and boy was he right! He, bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, drummer D’Vonne Lewis and tenor saxophonist Cynthia Mullis raised the bar even higher than usual, and that’s saying something! I am so fortunate to share the stage with such talented musicians who are also beautiful people. It’s a joy to be around them, on stage and off. Follow the links to their sites to see what they are all up to.
The first set was smokin’! We played our usual opener, “One Mint Julep”, and then our arrangement of Sam Rivers’ beautiful tune, “Beatrice”, as a quartet. Then Cynthia joined us for an epic version of Nick Drake’s “Three Hours” before we closed out the set with “Mance’s Dance”, written by my friend and fellow Seattle trumpet player Tatum Greenblatt.
On the set break I got to chat with friends who came out to show support, some of whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time. It’s quite amazing to be surrounded by that much love!
Set two began with our funky arrangement of “Love For Sale” (borrowed from Chet Baker), and continued with my composition “Bashert”. I wrote this tune for my wife, who drew the artwork that appears on the cover of the CD. I always love playing this tune, but it was even more special this evening because of her participation in the CD art. I then took a breather to let Cynthia have the spotlight as she played her tune “September 10th” with the boys. We finished up the show playing my friend Ethan Thomas’ tune “Pacific Crest” and then our mash-up of Gershwin’s “Summertime” and Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints”, which is always a crowd-pleaser. Unfortunately my new video camera’s battery died so I didn’t get this set on tape…
After we finished I had Brian, the greatest bartender in the world, pour me a double, and chatted with friends and fans – even signed a few CDs! The post-gig hang is always fun, as the boys get goofy and laughter ensues. I remember at one point David and Karen from LUCID posing gansta-style for the cameras!
I tried something new this time as far as CD sales go: I offered them on a “pay-what-you-can” basis. Throughout the show I announced that I wanted everyone there to leave with a CD, no matter what it took. I had a “suggested donation” price of $15, but told the crowd they could pay $10, $5, $2…or just take one for free. For some reason not everyone took me up on my offer. But in comparison to my last CD Release Party, where all CDs were priced at $10, I sold twice as many this time, and made more than twice as much money. 50% of the sales were for the suggested price of $15, 42% paid less, and 8% paid more. I also sold 3 CDs the next day through Amazon, which may or may not have been people at the show. All in all I think it was very successful. I succeeded in getting more CDs into people’s hands, which was my goal.
To purchase the CD, download and/or special bonus materials please click here.
Thankfully, there were many wonderful photographers in attendance, all of whom got some great photos. Here are the highlights. Click on the thumbnails to see the larger pictures.
Photos 1-3: Daniel Sheehan. Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Sheehan has many great photos of jazz musicians at Eye Shot Jazz. He is also a fantastic wedding photographer (he took my wedding photos!): A Beautiful Day Photography.
Photos 4-10: Bruce C. Moore. Bruce is an amazing photographer who specializes in musician photos.
Photos 11-18: Jim Levitt, who doesn’t seem to have a website…
Photos 19-21: Darrah Parker. My lovely wife, who happens to be a fine photographer, and The Official Photographer of the Jason Parker Quartet!