Monthly Archives: May 2023

FFJN June 2: Lula

The next act to join us on the 2nd is Lula.

Jami Lula and I go back to the days when I was working retail on Melrose! I think it was my childhood friend, Ivan Knight (a drummer, with whom I played my first professional gig when I was 11!) who told me about this gifted singer from Detroit that he wanted to bring into our circle of musicians. I was puzzled and floored by him right away. He’d do this impromptu sort of Tom Waits gravelly narrative improvisation, then he’d sound like Bobby McFerrin, then something like Kurt Elling (before I knew Kurt Elling’s sound, of course…).

For a short time I was a part of the band, Anything Orange, with Jami, Ivan, and Lula’s bassist, Jeffrey Dean. But I had my own thing to do…. 🙂

Anything Orange, became Orange, then became Lula, I think, when Jami’s old Detroit pal, Gordie Germaine, joined on guitar.

In the interim, Jami would often join me on gigs, with Charlie Colin (later of Train) on upright, and the late “Professor” Dwight Baldwin on percussion. My favorite memory is of us not being able to get into our gig at the 8121 Club on Sunset. A lot of our audience was in same predicament, waiting in line, so we did a mini set right there on the street in front of the Coconut Teaszer! Sometimes you’d find us engaged in similar activities at Damiano’s on Fairfax after playing a gig at Café Largo. We also used to host a songwriters gathering at Highland Grounds around the fire pit on Sunday afternoons. And I can’t forget the fun times with Jami and David Zasloff, showing up in the oddest places, co-creating beauty!

Jami grew into teaching at Musicians Institute Hollywood (MI), teaching voice and songwriting. I always enjoyed being a guest in his classes because I could feel the curiosity and passion that he’d stoked in his students, which fueled mine, while I tried to explain my process to these engaged minds.

Beyond teaching at MI, Jami became involved with Agape International Spiritual Center and other thinkers in the spiritual and human potential movement, where the full potential of his gifts really seemed to flourish. The ease with which his neo-bohemian improvisations flowed when I first met him, now made sense! The man can tap into spirit! I really admire and feel the uplifting power of the work he’s done over the past couple decades performing and speaking nationwide, and in his 10+ releases on Spirit in the House Records.

Find more info about Jami on

And until June 2, on the subject of Jami Lula, I’ll leave you with words from Agape’s Rev. Michael Beckwith:

“Jami Lula’s music is more than a shiver-inducing experience in sound, it is inspiration itself as an offering just to you. What I love about Jami’s improvisational textures is the intimacy he exudes through his personal intensity, which comes from a direct relationship with life, his love of it, and of humanity.”

– Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith

Lula is Jami Lula, vocals; Jeffrey Dean, bass; and Gordie Germaine, guitar. They play with Phil Parlapiano, and me (Jason Luckett) on Friday, June 2, 2023 @ Lyd & Mo’s Photography Studio in Pasadena.

RSVP on Facebook for more info.

Posted in Blog

FFJN June 2: Phil Parlapiano

My connection to Phil goes back to the days of his band, The Brothers Figaro, who played at Molly Malone’s regularly along with The Havalinas, Talkback, and my band. I was just talking to David Sutton, bassist for Talkback, who’s playing with Phil on the 2nd, about those days singing in that packed, smoke-filled pub, on a tiny stage near the dart board. Times have changed!

The Bros. Figaro were probably the most accomplished musicians in that roots world that most of us were engaging to a degree. It paid off in a bidding war to sign them, and then a great record on Geffen called, Gypsy Beat.

They went on to open for some of the bigger artists in the scene at the time. Then ended up in the backing band for the legend, John Prine! After 9 years with Prine, Phil worked with Rod Stewart(!) after being asked to play on his “Unplugged and Seated” album (I think along with another Molly’s and Genghis Cohen alum, Don Teschner). He followed this to play with Dave Koz (who’s longtime drummer is my lifelong friend, Stevo Theard) and co-wrote the Chanukah song “Eight Candles” with him.

I hadn’t been in touch with Phil much lately, but then Danette Christine, who played on the first First Fridays Jazz Night, mentioned that he might be playing with her that night. Looks like there’s a lot to catch up on. Here’s a bit from the end of his recent bio:

Parlapiano continues to work in the studio and live as a first call accordionist and keyboardist with the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Carlene Carter, Lucinda Williams, Social Distortion, Elvis Costello, Tracy Chapman, The Chicks, Jonas Brothers, Iron Butterfly and others. You could see him in the TV shows Happily Divorced, The New Girl, Transparent and Lethal Weapon. Movie goers saw Parlapiano in the blockbuster film The Titanic as an accordion player during the memorable scene in the lower decks when Kate and Leo are dancing. 

As of late, Phil’s work has been featured on the soundtrack to the Oscar winning film, The Shape of Water and the comedy Pitch Perfect 3. 

I’ve always known Phil to be an extremely brilliant, singular and unique musician. So you’re in for a treat on June 2.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Blog


Please join us on the June 2, the first Friday in June for First Fridays Jazz Night w/Jason Luckett and friends, Phil Parlapiano (with David Sutton on bass) and a Lula reunion of Jami Lula, Jeffrey Dean, and Gordie Germaine. All of us go way back, so I know that, beyond the amazingness of the talent in the room, there will be a little extra camaraderie in the room! I can’t wait!

RSVP on Facebook

Posted in Shows Past