A Short Bio:
Jason Luckett is a musician and writer from Los Angeles. Over a 30 year career he’s released 7 albums, performed internationally in clubs, theaters and festivals including Glastonbury (UK) and SXSW. His essays and lyrics have been published in anthologies including, “Voices from Leimert Park” (Tsehai) and “The Black Body” (Seven Stories). He’s read or performed at Beyond Baroque, Highways, The World Stage and LA Central Library (as part of the ALOUD series). He also writes music for films and theater, and appeared in the movie “La La Land.” His latest album is “Document:Freedom:Spring (Live!),” a solo concert featuring Jason playing piano and guitar, introducing 9 never-recorded songs in a 15 song set at The Grand Annex in San Pedro, California.
Praise for Document:Freedom:Spring:
“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
Jason Luckett plays Voyage-Air Guitars. (Read about it here and here.)
Notes on Document:Freedom:Spring (Live!):
On June 18, 2021, we believed the dangers of the pandemic were about to definitively recede into our rear view mirrors. There were many reasons for this — high vaccine uptake, low case rates, no variants had made an impact. We gathered at a beautiful little theater in San Pedro, California for the first in-person show of an NEA funded concert series called “Roots and Rambles.” Taran Schindler of The Warner Grand Foundation put this together. We’d been talking about doing a virtual show for about a year at this point, but as it got closer to the show date, things started to open up, so we decided to it in person. Since the show was grant funded, there needed to be an educational element, so I went out there to lead a songwriting workshop about three weeks prior in a little organic garden across the street from The Grand Annex. It went really well and it was so sweet to work with live humans in person after more than a year. Afterwards, Taran, showed me the space where I’d play. And on the stage was a piano!
Seeing a grand piano on the Annex stage… well, the sun shot rays through the clouds to show me the way! Over the pandemic I had brought a short (61-key) keyboard home from my studio, and I was starting to write a little bit with it, but I probably hadn’t put my hands on a real piano for probably 4 or 5 years. I’d never played piano in a show, unless you count a couple times when I was in Middle School and High School. Touching this piano now, I thought, “This is crazy, but I’m going to use it!”
Leading up to the show, the CDC allowed capacity for the room kept increasing and my excitement built. Taran told me their audiences liked to really hear the stories behind the songs, so I tried to build a show that was a retrospective journey and also a chance to share new songs with fresh stories.
So that’s what this is. Building from “Stir it Up,” written when the Rainbow Coalition and The United Colors of Benetton were fresh, before Jesse Jackson said we should call ourselves African-American, to the arrival of “Ours to Seed,” which explores some similar themes from the grand to intimate. Both are played on piano instead of guitar, where they were written 30+ years apart. I point this out because language has changed and changed again, but what remains constant is curiosity, the willingness to stumble and engage, in service of building connections between people: people I meet, people I want to meet, and people I want you to meet.
What you have here is pretty much everything that went on in the room captured by a few mics set up for the live show, where I move from station to station to play different instruments. It was a playground! I’m elated, centered, pensive, I ramble, I ask questions and I try to direct a singalong. Luckily, the folks in the audience laugh and talk back loudly enough at times so you get a sense of what it was like in the room.
The title, “Document:Freedom:Spring,” I dunno, it’s probably pretentious. Lots of my album titles might be. This one comes from the starting point of, “It is, what it is,” a fairly rudimentarily captured moment in time.
AND, It documents half a lifetime’s worth of material. It documents a moment in our culture’s pandemic, where we were starting to feel free again. I felt extraordinarily free to have the opportunity to play again. Even more so, I felt free to be able to stretch out, play piano, my Brazilian-style nylon string guitar, my trusty dreadnought, and my Tele-styled electric, with no time constraint.
This album documents a room filled with loved ones and strangers (yet still sitting far apart, mind you). I love hearing the familiar laughs, the new voices, and the supportive energy in the singing and applause. It documents a cultural moment where hard truths had been exposed, but we hoped that awareness would bring more harmony. I still hope. And I think you do, too. That’s the “Spring” of it, as well as, the season we met.
No need to tell too much of the stories behind the songs here because I do my best in the intros. I went back and forth about how to cut the songs and ultimately decided to keep the intros separate from the rest of the song. But I hope you’ll listen to the album start to finish, maybe on a long walk, a drive. I just hope you’ll be dropped into the room with us and follow along. Ray Moore did such a good job to highlight the energy and intimacy of the room with his mastering. I’m so grateful for him! (Just a note, this will sound best if you download it and add it to your music player. There are no unintentional gaps if you play it through Apple Music or whatever you use to play your downloads.)
I’m also grateful to Jacki Moo for filming, to Larson for following me around the stations and working the sound, to Natalie Gonzales for facilitating the video, to Joselyn Wilkinson for recommending me, and to Taran Schindler for bringing me in and opening up this space! It was just an amazing experience!
Soon a new studio album will begin.
Right now, I’m so excited for you to hear songs you probably haven’t heard, and how some of your old favorites have developed over the years!
Peace and love,
Selected Online Mentions and Reviews
At Peace w/ Past, Present, Future
“With the kind of smile that could light up the sky …, Jason Luckett cheerfully greets me…. Perhaps his outward expression of joy is attributable to an inner serenity (zen, if you will)…. Luckett is blissfully at peace with himself, his past, present, and future.” – Save the Date Magazine, Yayoi Winfrey. (Click image for PDF)
One To Watch
“One To Watch” – Acoustic Cafe, the acclaimed radio show from Ann Arbor, MI, broadcast on air worldwide.
“In the spirit of a stripped-down Ben Harper, another passionate guitar-god rises from the steamy armpit of Southern California. …Luckett is a charismatic, romantic poet who wields lyrical dexterity in his heartbreaking yet inspirational narratives. A refreshing return to pure unadulterated tunage!” – HITS Magazine, Alexa Sharman
Breath of Fresh Air
“…He uses his guitar as an accompaniment to his stellar, expressive voice as well as his intriguing love songs and mesmerizing essays. … He’s a little Sam Cooke, a little Lenny Kravitz, and a little Neil Young. … His friendly demeanor and barefoot appearance draws you into the moment and relaxes your guard. … Jason Luckett is just the breath of fresh air that this jaded town needs”- Music Connection
A Tasty Brew
“…A tasty brew of pop, soul, and folk that’s both relaxed and infectiously danceable. They keep things interesting by shifting the tempo and instrumentation, and through it all weaves Luckett’s supple, soulful singing.”- Victory Review, Richard Middleton
Along comes a singer/songwriter who really shines. Jason Luckett could be billed as a male Tracy Chapman. His songs cast a jaundiced eye at life, love and social issues. Luckett tackles his subject matter with aplomb.”- New Times (SLO County), Glen Starkey
“Luckett is a folksinger who has learned a lot of adjectives to describe all those dysfunctional relationships that are responsible for so many good songs. Bad significant others make for good songs, and Luckett gets emotional for the usual reasons at the right places. He’s got a pleasing voice, and that never hurts.” – LA Times, Bill Locey
Video: Moment in the Sun
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