FFJN 10/6: Katie Ward

Katie was recommended to me by my friend, Nick Vincent, with whom I’ve done the Nilsson Tribute shows. Most recently he did the arrangement for “Nevertheless” for the 8th Annual show. (See it here.)

Katie, it turns out was part of Kenny Burrell’s 85th birthday concert, which gives us something in common, as I sang with him at the 75th and 80th!

She’ll be solo on the 6th, and here’s how she describes her music:

Katie Ward imagines a world in which jazz harmony and glittery synthesizers enmesh in a dreamy balancing act of consonance and dissonance. At times her musical world is chaotic and challenging, but it is matched with a lyrical sincerity that is unabashedly girly and whimsical. She aims to push musical boundaries as far as possible without straying from an emotional core.

I’m looking forward to hearing her live!

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FFJN 10/6: Gary Stockdale

Gary Stockdale Photo

Gary is someone I find a delight to be around! His voice is pure and his songs are witty, poignant, and effortlessly musical. I’m exited to have him join us on the 6th for a set.

Read some about him below:

GARY STOCKDALE is a 2-time Emmy-nominated composer, songwriter and singer who composed music for many TV shows and films, including Sabrina, the Teenage WitchPenn & Teller: BullshitSpongebob Squarepants, and The Aristocrats (not to be confused with the AristoCATS – this is the one about the world’s dirtiest joke told by the world’s funniest comedians). For some of these, he also wrote and was the primary vocalist on original songs. He was also the composer and Musical Director for the Emmy-nominated Penn & Teller’s Sin City Spectacular, one of the last true TV variety shows. Gary won a BMI Award for Music Composition for his work on the Penn & Teller show.

As a veteran studio singer, his voice can be heard on The Prince of EgyptStar Wars: Rogue OneStar Trek: BeyondThe Spongebob Squarepants MovieThe Simpsons, & Family Guy. He has sung with Justin Timberlake, Adele, Aaron Neville, Neil Young, David Crosby & Johnny Mathis, and backed up Mary J. Blige on the 2018 Oscars. Gary’s onscreen performances include a featured solo in the cult-classic musical TV seriesCop/Rock, a lead vocal in the film Lucy In The Sky (as a singing Shriner),  a singing retiree in the first episode of B Positiveas well as wearing a pink choir robe, backing up Camila Cabello on the Ellen show in 2019.

With Spencer Green, Gary co-wrote the irreverent adult musical BUKOWSICAL, which won Outstanding Musical at the2007 New York International Fringe Festival. Gary also composed the score for the original Off-Broadway productionof PLAYDEAD, directed and co-written by Teller. He was the original keyboard player in the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Gary’s latest record, Keep Letting Go was released in 2018. After working with Gary, award-winning songwriters Barry Mann & Cynthia Weill (You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, Somewhere Out There) called Gary “…one of the greatest singers on the planet.” That quote sure looks nice on a bio!


Date City Venue
First Fridays Jazz with Jason Luckett and Friends Residency
Friday, 10/06/23 Pasadena, CA Lyd & Mo Photography
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $20 suggested donation. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 27 N Mentor Ave.
Featured Artists
Katie Ward
Gary Stockdale
Jason Luckett

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FFJN Sept 1: Cathy Segal-Garcia & Gary Fukushima

Cathy and I met probably a decade ago when her group Fish To Birds, an a cappella improvised singing group, was forming, I even sat in with them a few times! She’s been a long time influential presence on the jazz vocal scene in Los Angeles and a tireless champion of jazz of all kinds, and now hosts live broadcasts from Kulak’s Woodshed. Cathy & jazz pianist Gary Fukushima have had a wonderful musical relationship for many years. They are the founders of “The Moment”, a quirky modern-jazz & improvisational quintet with synth, guitar, tenor, and percussion. On the 1st, the band will include Chuck Manning on tenor and special guest percussionist.

First Fridays Jazz Night w/ Jason Luckett & Friends, 9/1/23

Cathy Segal-Garcia & Gary Fukushima
Jason Luckett

Hosted by Jason Luckett
Doors: 7:30
Showtime: 8pm

Suggested donation: $20 at the door or online at (100% goes to the musicians).

Lyd & Mo Photograpy Studio & Gallery
27 N Mentor Avenue, Pasadena, CA, United States, California

In Playhouse Village in the heart of Pasadena

IG: @firstfridaysjazznight

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I think Masa and I may have first met at UCLA, but we became friends through the community around The World Stage in Leimert Park. We were the guys with acoustic guitars, who would fill that room without a mic during poetry nights. We were kin.

Masa also helped to facilitate my first collaboration with Peter J Harris, “Winter in Brazil,” after I’d heard what he had done with Peter’s words.

Soon after we met, Masa partnered with Neo Muyanga to form Blk Sonshine, and beauty was taken to another level! And he continues to grow and inspire me with the power of his voice and writing.

Here’s MASAUKO’s bio:

Masauko is a Malawian-American singer/songwriter, born in Los Angeles while his parents were in political exile. His primary instruments are the acoustic guitar and the voice. Masauko’s sound is a unique mixture of Southern African traditional music with jazz, folk, funk, hip hop and reggae. 

He performed at the request of Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 2005 and became a Mandela 46664 Ambassador. Mandela dared his ambassadors to use their art as a form of activism. From that time forward Masauko has used his music to support women and orphans in remote villages of Malawi. 

He received a Limon Roots award in August 2014 for his unique contributions to the culture of Costa Rica through African music.

In 2022, Masauko received a certificate of recognition from Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo for his work as an activist and artist in the USA and Africa. On September 1, at First Fridays Jazz Night w/ Jason Luckett & Friends, Masauko will share songs and stories about growing up in Pasadena and making music around the world.

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FFJN 7/7 Babilonia, Ann Pattillo, Phil Vieux

From last month, with David Sutton.

On Friday, July 7, I have Celia Chavez, Ann Pattillo, and Phil Vieux joining me for “Jazz Night.”

Celia’s spent time globetrotting as a backup singer with artists including P!nk, Melody Gardot and Enrique Iglesias, to name a few. I met her through the community of musicians at Genghis Cohen years ago. She’s taken a brand new moniker, Babilonia, to launch her new EP, “If I Ever Think To Double Back.” It “braids together strands of music she’s lived and loved: from her parents’ jazz and soul records back in her hometown of Seattle, to the vibrant scene of New York City’s Lower East Side, to the songcraft capital of Laurel Canyon. Written during a painful two year break from her life partner, it’s a record of liberation against a backdrop of deep cultural change.”

I met Phil Vieux at The World Stage in Leimert Park in the 90s. He floored me. Like a time machine to the future. Check out his solo to “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise.”

He’s played with artists from Horace Silver and Tootie Heath to Ray Charles and Eddie Palmieri. And on the 7th, he’ll play a few tunes with me!

My newest friend on the bill is Ann Pattillo. My sister and I met her and her sister at a Kurt Elling show a couple years ago. She’s “a public school music teacher who loves singing jazz and all things Brazilian!” And she swings in a sort of Betty Carter way. I’m excited to accompany her for her set!

If you can join us, the vibe is kind of a house concert in a gorgeous photography gallery and studio. Bring whatever you like for refreshments and snacks, for yourself or to share. The suggested base donation is $20, all of which goes to the musicians. Mo offers his place to us for free.

[Facebook RSVP]

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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.

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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.

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FFJN April 7: Stefanie Naifeh (The Underthings)

Another group of friends to be joining us on April 7 is a trio version of The Underthings. These are #tbt images from the days when we met. I’d invited Stefanie Naifeh to join this edition of FFJN w/ Jason Luckett & Friends because I’d always loved her voice and remembered the broad repertoire The Underthings covered. So I’m super excited that she was able to pull together a couple bandmates to make this mini-resurfacing happen. Here’s what she wrote for this post on Facebook:

“Well, it’s been a while folks but we have a little gig coming up. Jason Luckett invited a small ensemble from the Underthings to perform at his monthly event in Pasadena on April 7th!

It will be Paul Lacques, Richie Lawrence and me (Stefanie Naifeh) performing our jazzier styled tunes. It isn’t the first time we have done a small, intimate ensemble.”

And the photos above are proof! Join us next Friday!

First Fridays Jazz Night with Jason Luckett & Friends, April 7, in Pasadena!
Marcelo Bucater‘s trio (@marcelobucater)
Stefanie Naifeh (w/ Paul Lacques & Richie Lawrence of The Underthings)
And me!

Friday, April 7 at 8pm.
Lyd & Mo Photography Studio & Gallery (@lydandmo)
27 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena, CA.

Hosted by Jason Luckett
Doors: 7:30
Showtime: 8pm
Suggested donation: $20 at the door or online at (100% goes to the musicians).
In Playhouse Village in the heart of Pasadena

Posted in Blog, News

FFJN April 7: Marcelo Bucater

Highlighting my newest friend who will be joining me on April 7, at Lyd & Mo’s, this is Marcelo Bucater. We just met this January and keep discovering that we’ve got more and more great musicians in common. I’m excited that he’s bringing his trio to our First Fridays Jazz Night. I’ll let his bio tell you the rest:

Marcelo Bucater (@marcelobucater) is a drummer/percussionist and educator from São Paulo – Brazil based in Los Angeles since 2013.

Currently, part of the Drum Faculty at Los Angeles College of Music (LACM) and the California College of Music (CCM) teaching private and group lessons.

Marcelo has worked as a session and touring musician for several years, recording and performing live with different artists. His versatility as a drummer and percussionist lead to performances accompanying artists of different genres all over the world.

He has produced, recorded and performed with independent artists and renowned musicians such as Carrie Underwood for the 51st ACM Award, Adam Levy (Norah Jones), Darek Oles (Pat Metheny), Scott Henderson (Chick Corea), Philip Bynoe (Steve Vai), John Avila (Oingo Boingo), Gemini (Justin Bieber), Natalia Spadini, Andrew Murdock (Linking Park), Tinto Tango, Koobang Ensemble, Duques, and Phat Cat Swinger just to name a few. And performed in venues like Disney California Adventure, Rose Bowl, Levi’s Stadium, MGM Arena in Las Vegas, Microsoft Theater, Hollywood Pantages Theater, Pershing Square LA, El Rey Theater, NAMM Show, Queen Mary, and many others.

Marcelo is a member of the Recording Academy and a voting member of the Latin Grammys. Some of his music projects include the Press Award 2020 Finalist group Little Brazil Trio – which made it to the 20th Annual Latin Grammy Awards ballot in five categories and was a finalist at the 24th Annual USA Songwriting Competition with the original song “Vem”.

His passion for music and his craft is shown in his great feel and rock-solid support for the music and his warmhearted personality.

Join us Friday, March 3 at 8pm.
Lyd & Mo Photography
27 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena, CA.

Hosted by Jason Luckett
Doors: 7:30
Showtime: 8pm
Suggested donation: $20 at the door or online at (100% goes to the musicians).
In Playhouse Village in the heart of Pasadena

Posted in Blog, News

New Residency and Vespers

As sunlight drenches my home, I’m writing on January 19, to share two pieces of exciting news! 

First, starting February 3rd, I have a “First Fridays” residency in Pasadena where I will play and host jazz aligned artists throughout the year. 

And, second, on Sunday, February 19th, I’ll be performing an evening of Freedom Songs, traditional and my original music, accompanied by Russell Ferrante on piano, Edwin Livingston on bass, and Reggie Quinerly on drums, in the beautiful gothic revival building of All Saints Church, Pasadena, as part of their long standing Jazz Vespers series.

My residency, Jason Luckett’s First Fridays Jazz and Friends, is like a cross between the shows I loved doing at Left Coast Wine Bar in Glendale, and a house concert. It’s at Lyd & Mo Photography & Gallery (27 Mentor Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106), which is a beautiful space with nice sound. (It’s like a smaller version of Mr. Musichead Gallery.) 

Sometimes I’ll play with my guests, sometimes they’ll do their own sets, but this time we’ll lean more toward jazz, and artists doing their own complete sets. 

And it’s like a house concert in that it’s a real listening environment, we ask for a $20 donation per person with all the money going to the artists, Mo supplies light refreshments, but you are welcome to bring your own for yourselves or to share, and all ages are welcome.

The first show, Feb. 3, will feature the Cuban-Swedish artist Angelica Artifex, and Danette Christine, whose most recent release sets the music of Harry Nilsson into surprising contexts. 

March 3 we’ll have the great Nailah Porter (my old partner from the “Love Fest” residency at Lucy Florence/Hudson Theater!) and others. Doors open at 7:30. The show runs from 8 – 10:30 with a break or two.

Now the Vespers: 

Well, first, I’m extremely honored to be part of this series, and to be joined by such amazing players. “Vespers” can be thought of as traditionally and evening of prayer, around sundown, focusing on Psalms. 

For Black History Month, I can think of a more prayerful thing than to focus on songs of liberation born of the Civil Rights Movement, and to carry that spirit forward to us here today with songs like, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” “Eyes on the Prize,” and my own “Daydream” and “Jackson, MS.” 
As a bonus, we’ll have my sister, Dr. Josslyn Luckett, preach. And Nailah will lend her voice, too! 
It’s long been a dream of mine to do this music in this setting. It’s going to be powerful.

I can’t wait to see you in person soon! You know where I’ll be every first Friday of the month! And on a special Sunday in February! (See below for times and addresses.)

Peace and love to you all!


PS Thanks again for all the support on the release of the new live album! If you don’t have it yet, it’s available exclusively on Bandcamp here.

Get “Document:Freedom:Spring (Live!)” Here!

Friday, Feb 3, 2023, 8-10:30pm 
First Fridays @ Lyd & Mo’s Studio & Gallery
27 N. Mentor Ave, Pasadena, CA$20 donation

Sunday, Feb 19, 2023, 5-6:30pm
Jazz Vespers Freedom Songs @ All Saints Church, Pasadena
132 North Euclid Avenue

Posted in Blog, News, Shows