About Origin

Our Story

We are a Seattle-based independent jazz label; run for musicians by musicians. Our fundamental goals are simple: to provide a home for our artists' ongoing work, as their careers and musical voices continue to evolve, and to introduce our customers (and ourselves!) to new and refreshingly unexpected music, while maintaining an uncompromised artistic quality throughout the catalog. Celebrating our 15th year in 2012, we release three dozen new recordings a year and represent over 240 artists across the Origin, OA2 and Origin Classical labels.

A huge part of our success so far lies in the collaborative efforts of the many artists we serve and partner with. With a focus on teaming with artistic communities from around the world - Chicago, Seattle, Antwerp, Tel Aviv, New York City and San Francisco, for instance - our artists help curate the labels by bringing in fellow musicians who they feel enhance their own musical statements. The result is a cohesive yet diverse catalog with a wide range of articulation: from some of the great modern Big Band composers, to producer/bassist Jonas Tauber's world of creative improvised music - the "Zurich Series" - to "modern mainstream" projects which make up a bulk of the catalog. Works from some of the great pioneers of jazz are included - Don Lanphere, Jessica Williams, Benny Powell, Hal Galper, Doug Hamilton to name just a few - whose recordings reflect decades of collaborations throughout jazz history and provide a dulcet parity to some of our more contemporary offerings.

We lead as jazz fans ourselves and as such, we are driven to delight and surprise our fellow enthusiasts by introducing innovative and important artists who live and work beyond the mainstream. The trust that we've built with our audience throughout the years has been key to realizing these aspirations.

With the mid-nineties came the new frontier of the Internet. Matt's attendant establishment of our online presence enabled us to leverage digital distribution as a means to enter the global marketplace. We also had the opportunity to partner with other startups and build relationships that are still strong today. The collaboration between All About Jazz in Philadelphia and Jazz Steps in Seattle resulted in the All About Jazz/Seattle magazine, which later forged SeattleJazzScene.com. On a local level, we continue to work with various entities in the Seattle music and business communities to present the annual Ballard Jazz Festival, which just celebrated its 10th year. Overall, our partnerships with industry players-musicians, club owners, writers, presenters, DJ's, publicists, printers, engineers and studios-have provided us with an extensive base and continuous opportunities for developing music businesses.

While we have grown significantly over the past 15 years, we are still closely involved with every album we release. John designs the covers for each CD and Matt creates websites for many of our artists. Still, it is the strength of our partnerships that allows us to bring our efforts to optimal fruition. By utilizing the finest studios and engineers from around the world, there's an organic sound and approach to the label's identity that is less reliant on any specific engineer, sound concept, scene or thought process. As such, great artists are able to focus on the best sound they can generate at that day and in that situation and how it blends with other projects going through the same process. Each release has a relation to the one before it and the one after, and although there are multiple musical styles and expressions represented, the catalog has a sense of flow and continuity.

We've received some favorable nods along the way. We were nominated as JazzWeek's "Label of the Year" in 2007-2011, winning in 2009, and we are regularly among the most-played labels on American jazz radio. We are also pleased that Origin artists have received seven Grammy nominations. We are duly proud of all of these. That said, there are no commercial expectations attached to any new release. Fulfillment comes from creating a label sound from many divergent sources. "Name" artists or not, the pay-off for us is in the effects of the collective artists' efforts, pursuits and artistic, personal and professional development over the lives of their projects. We are honored that these viable, driven, successful and established musicians have decided to present this part of their musical careers through this one outlet. We are also grateful for the continued enthusiasm, support and feedback of our Origin customers.

Origin In The Press

Earshot Magazine: Origin Records 10th Anniversary

Seattle Times: Duo behind Origin Records opening doors for local artists

Seattle Times: Ballard's Origin Records drumming up national interest

All About Jazz: OriginArts: The Tsunami from Seattle


Who We Are

John Bishop

John Bishop / Drummer


Origin founder John Bishop has been one of the primary voices in Northwest Jazz for 30 years. He has performed with Bobby McFerrin, Lee Konitz, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, George Cables, Sonny Fortune, Bobby Hutcherson, Tom Harrell, Larry Coryell, Jon Faddis, Charles McPherson, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Joe Locke, Hal Galper, Jessica Williams, and countless others. {Origin Artist Page}

Matt Jorgensen

Matt Jorgensen / Drummer


His five releases with his band Matt Jorgensen +451 built a reputation as one of the most exciting groups in jazz today. As a sideman he has worked with Gary Bartz, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Eric Alexander, Bill Mays, Stanley Jordan, Peter Bernstein, Vincent Herring, Bobby Shew, Mike LeDonne, George Colligan, Reggie Workman, Tim Ries, Chuck Leavell and others. {Origin Artist Page}

Chris Icasiano

Chris Icasiano / Drums


Chris can been seen playing in Seattle at The Chapel, touring the West Coast with Bad Luck, or touring Europe with Speak. {Origin Artist Page}

Peter Daniel

Peter Daniel / Saxophonist


Though he has a Physics degree from Gonzaga University, Peter chose to join us at Origin Records handling all of those "technical" things like "inventory" and tracking "artist royalties." We hear he also has lots of gigs. {Peter's website}

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  • Origin Records
    8649 Island Drive South
    Seattle, WA 98118
    ph: (206) 781-2589
    fx: (206) 374-2618
  • Email / Order Info / Etc