Matt Jorgensen: Painting With Sound
AAJ: Before we close, I'd like to ask about Origin, the label you run with John Bishop. You've been chosen jazz record label of the year in 2009. You have nearly 300 releases, and now two spin-off labels, OA2 and Origin Classical. In the current climate, what do you think has enabled Origin to be so successful, in the face of declining CD sales, downloading, and just the sheer number of releases out there now?
MJ: Well, we started back in 1997 as an artist-collective model, mainly because we were broke! But it has enabled us to stay in business and build something that is going to be here for the long run. We are fortunate that we are now able to have a small staff, and I now don't do as much of the day-do-day at Origin. But we still have our Ballard Jazz Festival, which we started, and I do a lot of web design for artists. I also produce some of the videos you see on the site, do the podcast and, of course, continue to perform and tour. We basically learned how to do everything ourselves because we didn't have any money to pay anyone, so now we have figured out how to make it work. We never had anything at the beginning, so for us it is just as it has always been. I was on a panel once with other executives of indie rock labels talking about the downturn in music sales and the state of the business. When it was my turn to speak I said, "Well, now everyone else knows what it is like to run a jazz record label!" Everyone chuckled, but it's true.
AAJ: Origin is racking up some hits too. I was very impressed with Thomas Marriott's work on your albums, and I know that he released a super-hot record out now with Ray Vega, East-West Trumpet Summit (2010).
MJ: Yes, Thomas has another one out now too called Constraints and Liberations, which is amazing, featuring John Bishop on drums; and then another CD coming out later this year with me, Mark Taylor, and Gary Versace on organ.
AAJ: You are busy men! But that's the best thing for a jazz musician, to have much work to do, isn't it?
MJ: Seriously! It sure beats the alternative.
Matt Jorgensen, Tattooed By Passion: Music Inspired By The Paintings of Dale Chisman (Origin, 2010)
Ray Vega/Thomas Marriott, East-West Trumpet Summit (Origin, 2010)
Richard Cole, Inner Mission (Origin, 2009)
Matt Jorgensen + 451, Another Morning (Origin, 2008)
Matt Jorgensen + 451, Hope (Origin, 2004)
Matt Jorgensen + 451, Quiet Silence (Origin, 2002)
All Photos: Courtesy of Matt Jorgensen