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!

J

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

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Posted in Blog, News, Shows

Get Live Album now (and more)! Released Friday, 10/21/22.

I’m super excited to announce that “Document:Freedom:Spring (Live!)” was released on Friday, October 21, 2022! This is exclusively available on Bandcamp. 

To celebrate, I’m also releasing reissues of my entire 2000s catalog there, for $7+ each. The great thing about Bandcamp is that you can download lossless and hi-res files all for the same price, plus, you can also “name your price” to generously support artists further. Even cooler, on Bandcamp Fridays (the first Friday of every month), the full amount of your purchase goes to the artist.

But enough about where you can buy it, you probably want to know about it! The album’s “liner notes” detail the magic of re-opening The Warner Grand Annex with my “Roots & Rambles” show after lockdown in June of 2021. The quick version is that they had a piano, I fell in love with the idea of playing it, so I did — for the first time in my adult life ever in a show! This led to a retrospective night of joy with an introduction of nine songs never recorded until now. And, only the last song of the night — an unplanned encore — is played in an arrangement that’s something I’ve done before. 

For all of us, it was a beautiful night of hope! We were elated and a little bit surprised to be in a theater together. Covid rates were low, vaccine rates were high, variants were in the distance. I felt so free to have three different stations to play three different guitars…and a piano that night! It felt like a rebirth, as does today, being able to share this music with you. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Here are a couple thoughts from others:

“The word that leaps to my mind is “generosity.”  This recording absolutely drips with it.  Generosity of spirit.  Generosity of artistry. You feel the artist’s presence.

Over the course of 15 remarkable songs, Jason Luckett invites us into his musical world, receiving all with warmth, humor and boundless energy and invention.”

— Todd Lawrence (aka Milo Binder)

“I have been a fan of Jason’s for many years and have watched him perform live many times, and I know this much about him: Live music is his happy place. He loves playing in front of people, playing off of and interacting with a crowd with a guitar in his hand, or his fingers hovering above a piano and keyboard. This here live album is classic Jason Luckett, at the height of his powers, playing to a room full of happy Lucketteers! His positivity, his love for his craft, is all present and accounted for in this show. I loved listening to and watching it as much as I am sure all of you will. Realize it!”

Dee Madden

You can buy everything now and you can access the liner notes for free there, too.

The full concert video comes next month. But, with this album, thanks to Raymond Moore‘s carefully detailed mastering, the picture you can create in your head is so vivid, and that’s really the way I like to see music. Put it in your headphones and be transported. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Bill Withers live at Carnegie Hall in my mind since 1973, but I hope you’ll join us at the Grand Annex many times in the years to come.

I hope to see you all again, in real life, on the road soon!

Peace and Love, 

J

Song List:
Stir It Up (piano version)
Home (piano)
Reimagine (piano)
Faithful (dreadnought acoustic guitar)
Looking at a Photo of Sonny Rollins (dreadnought)
My Return (nylon)
Stack of 45s (electric)
Bad Man You Want (electric)
The Passage of Time (dreadnought)
This Love (nylon)
Magic Trumps Reason (electric)
Our Moment in the Sun (electric)
Daydream (piano)
Summer Nights Are Ours To Seed (piano)
Miracle (dreadnought)

Big thanks to Simko for the beautiful photos!

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Posted in Blog, Music, News

Our Moment in the Sun (Live)

I’ll be releasing a live album in the next couple weeks on Bandcamp. Here’s one cut.

Posted in Blog, Live Video Archive, Music, News, Video

“Mood Swings” released

Mood Swings

September saw the release of a project I began in 2016. The album is called “Mood Swings” and the artist is Larry Wolf, whom I’ve mentioned a few times on this site. He was one of the circle of actors Robert Downey Sr. used for his movies back when Iron Man was just another dog in the “Pound.” It’s mostly a jazz record, with a little bit of Leadbelly. I produced a much of it, played guitar and harmonica, and contributed some BVs. Because Larry is a good actor, he’s such a good musical storyteller. But, this isn’t an actor’s record, this is a seasoned vocalist, digging into the essence of songs you may have heard hundreds of times…or not. Larry also adds some of his own verses and commentary to evergreen standards. What’s gratifying to me is that the reviews have been so positive, with special mentions for the guitar playing in a group with veterans of Jazz artists I’ve admired for years. And if I can share an intimate thought, I did have a moment listening to the rough mixes where I heard myself and felt like I was playing like I’d like to hear someone playing. That may sound silly (and all self-criticism is still close to the surface!), but it’s a wonderful feeling to step into a world and feel like you can do just what you wanted to do within it. 

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Scoring “Webs of Compassion”

I wrote music for a film in July of this year. The film is about the caregivers to the people in a transitional living facility. The project is by a photographer turned filmmaker named Rebecca Truszkowski and it’s a subject dear to both of our hearts. Her grandmother, and my mother (not the same woman), both spent a good part of their lives caring for mentally ill homeless. What’s so beautiful about this film is that so many of the current caregivers had been clients at the facility before dedicating their work life to offering others a hand up. The music is clean acoustic guitar that tries to reflect the beauty of those who work so hard to provide a loving place from which to begin again for people who’ve been through some horribly difficult situations.

I can’t show any clips until the distribution is set. But I really loved doing it!

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Nilsson Show – “Remember!”

My friend, Janet Grey, captured this performance from a beautiful night celebrating Harry Nilsson! Thanks so much to Chris Price for playing the piano that I couldn’t pull off, Lyn Bertles for the string arrangement and all the players! One run during rehearsal and one shot at Molly Malone’s. A good time was had by all!

https://www.facebook.com/janet.grey27/videos/10219485977807024/

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Posted in Live Video Archive, Music, News, Uncategorized, Video

Featured Artist on Art of the Song and Standing “O” Project!

Standing ‘O’ Project

Art of the Song

Posted in News

Octogenarian Phenom, Larry Wolf’s Single

I recorded this a couple weeks ago for a friend of mine, Larry Wolf. Larry is known for his acting in a number of films directed by Robert Downey, Sr., including Robert Downey, Jr.‘s first acting scene in the movie “Pound.” He’s 83 years old and sounds great. We’re in the process of trying to set him up with his own Facebook page, etc. But, give this a listen and please share some comments that I can share with Larry. It’ll make him happy to know that people are listening. And If you have any ideas of how more people can hear his music, let us know.

Use the links below to purchase or stream.


CD Baby

Apple Music

Amazon

Spotify

Embraceable You (YouTube)

You Are My Sunshine (YouTube)

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Posted in Music, News

La La Land

La La Land PosterLast summer I had the pleasure of being in a band with Ryan Gosling… Well, I mimed guitar for a scene in “La La Land” which opens on Friday in Los Angeles and New York, and nationwide on December 16.

Last night I saw the film for the first time at the dance and music team screening. First, that experience was great…I love dancers just as a culture! And the film itself is great! It really captures what film maker Damien Chazelle describes in a piece on his favorite musicals in Sunday’s LA Times, saying that musicals “favor emotions over logic. They’re not a literal reflection of life — they’re about how life feels.” Sure it’s only a slice of how some lives feel, but for me seeing streets I drive often, especially by the 101 and Vine, it felt like some joyous and heartbreaking aspects of my life as a performing artist in LA.

Actually getting this job lines up with that for me. This was actually my first “sidelining” gig. Sidelining is when they hire professional musicians to mime playing pre-recorded music for a film to ensure authenticity when you see the hands move, basically. So we’re playing the songs, it’s just not us that you hear on the soundtrack necessarily. My girlfriend had told me to submit to an agency for this sort of thing a while back and I thought, “What the heck?”

Anyway, I get the gig based on a a couple photos they’ve seen, I guess, and I’m called for wardrobe. I drive out to Burbank or somewhere, make a wrong turn and end up in a cemetery. I finally make it to the studio and I’m guided to a room with a couple look boards leaning against the wall. I’m alone, so I walk over to give them a closer look. I see John Legend and others in sort of neo-soul looking clothes. I think, “Okay, I get the look they’re going for….” Then I pull out the second board which was behind and see photos of A Flock of Seagulls. “Yikes! I’d hate to be those guys…”

“So we’re going for a sort of authentic 80s look….” says the costume director.

Probably only a few of you would know this, but when I was a young teenager, my band was booked to open for A Flock of Seagulls. We thought it was going to be our big break. KROQ was the sponsor. We had the posters. This was going to be our big break out of Irvine. Then, a week or two before the show, the venue closed and we weren’t rescheduled. A Flock of Seagulls is kryptonite.

But the shoot was good. Ryan Gosling was a good guy, joining us in trying to come up with ridiculous band names, all of which I’ve forgotten now. And I won’t give any spoilers, but I’m curious to hear your feedback on my “luck” after seeing the film.

And the feeling of heartbreak to triumph is seeing this film in a room filled with amazing talent, knowing that it’s getting Oscar buzz, and loving the finished product. It’s a nice result for fun work on a 100º summer’s day (which plays for spring in the film).

I’m very visible in the scene, early in the film, behind my sunglasses. And if you see the trailer, I’m visible at the very end — if you don’t blink… and you know I’m there!

Blink and you'll miss it, but this still is from the end of the trailer.

Blink and you’ll miss it, but this still is from the end of the trailer.

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Posted in Blog, News

Podcast today!

Jason Hikes!I’m in Bar Harbor, enjoying my mom and Acadia National Park! Last week, though, Katie Mitchell interviewed me for the Standing “O” Project’s podcast. Standing “O” is a fair trade music streaming site that you may have heard about from “The Art of the Song” radio show, your music community or me (I was featured last year on “The Art of the Song.” It just went live today!

Listen here: https://www.standingoproject.com/artist/jasonluckett/ with a fan or free trial subscription. Fans can also listen on libsyn here: http://standingoproject.libsyn.com/jason-luckett-mid-week-coffee-break or on itunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/art-song-standing-o-project/id707128897?mt=2

I haven’t listened to it yet, but I loved talking with Katie in my studio. I was just getting ready for the Harry Nilsson Birthday Concert (which went great — I had a string section, bass and drums accompany me on “The Wailing of the Willow” from Harry’s Aerial Ballet album), and working on some new stuff which you’ll be hearing about over the summer.

I hope you’re having a good summer. I find nature, exercise, and music are the best healers, so I’m grateful to be experiencing them all. Hope you’ll experience some of the same!

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Posted in Blog, Music, News