Bandleaders: Pay Your Musicians

I had a long conversation with some of my favorite musicians last night about taking gigs for crap money. I’m against it, some were for it, I’m curious what everyone thinks.

My position is that part of a bandleader’s job is to make sure you have money to pay your musicians what they deserve, regardless of expected turnout, and even when hiring your friends (I think ESPECIALLY when hiring your friends). There’s money out there to support music (How much did KEXP’s new building cost? How much did folks raise to save KNKX?), it just requires making the case to get it. Grants, fundraising, negotiating with venues, seeking out money gigs, merch, etc. It’s not easy and it takes effort and creativity, but it’s doable. Aside from making sure you have money to keep for your own effort, there are a ton of positive side-effects to having this attitude.  Continue reading Bandleaders: Pay Your Musicians

Winnerz! Alternative Jazz Group of the Year

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I’m excited to report that Happy Orchestra was voted 2016 Alternative Jazz Group of the Year by readers of Earshot Jazz!I’m also honored to have been nominated NW Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year. I’m proud and thankful to all the incredible musicians that contribute to the project and all of you for the support.

Happy will be back in action at the Ballard Jazz Fest, Seattle Out to Lunch Concerts, SAM Olympic Sculpture Park, Jazz in the Valley, and much more as we ramp up to the official release of the record this fall at the Earshot Jazz Festival. Thanks for the love!

Earshot Cover, December Happy Residency

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Last month I was honored to be featured on the cover of Seattle’s jazz publication Earshot Magazine. You can read the article here! You can also view my favorite defacing of the cover here:

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In other news, Happy Orchestra is performing at Nectar Lounge every Tuesday night in December! We’re also using the shows as a food drive for Northwest Harvest so bring some nonperishable food, look for the donation box at the venue, and have some fun while doing some good in your community. A list of suggested foods can be found here.

Thanks for the love and support, I’ll see ya at some shows.

Staying Happy

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Clowning with Tim Kennedy and Skerik on stage at Conor Byrne (Photo by Hanna Stevens)

My father passed away in June. At the time, I had planned to move to New York in the fall but, in the aftermath, decided to stay in Seattle to regain my bearings and keep making music with the incredible musicians I love and am lucky enough to work with. I played with Joe Doria and Dan Heck the night he died and was immediately reminded of the healing strength of what I get to do. Playing served as one of the few things that made me present and pulled me out of the darkness, helping to slowly rebuild the drive and energy I lost in the weeks afterwards.

So I want to thank Joe, Dan, Tim Kennedy, Andy Coe, Skerik, Ian Sheridan, Thomas Marriott, RL Heyer, Kate Olson, Neil Welch, Tim Carey, Brad Gibson, the many others I’ve played with since, and the wonderful women of The Tiptons who I’m about to tour with and know will leave me feeling warm and full. I’m going to stay in Seattle for now, play with my friends, work on the Happy Orchestra record that’s sounding SO good (see below), and stay happy.

Happy Record and Earshot Nomination

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Happy Orchestra in-studio with Ian Sheridan, Andy Coe, and Tim Kennedy

The Happy Orchestra record got its start in January with a day-long session of rhythm section tracks. We got foundations for about half of the record, a snippet of which you can hear at the successfully-funded Kickstarter Update Page. Check it!

Happy has also been nominated 2015 Alternative Jazz Group of the Year in the Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award poll. You can vote over at earshot.org until March 10th, and while you’re there read my Ask a Jazz Musician column from the January and February issues.

Thanks for all of your support!