Origin Classical Catalog

The world changes. It wasn't so many years ago that lovers and purveyors of jazz and classical music occupied utterly different realms, thoroughly misunderstanding, barely acknowledging the value and primacy of another great musical magisterium.

That was then. Many important jazz players of the day do not merely study classical music and learn from it, but often compose and/or perform music best described as being in that tradition. (Think of a Bobby McFerrin, who conducts leading orchestras, sometimes adding his voice to the mix of famous compositions. It's not "pop's night" it's great music honored from a fresh perspective.) Classical music festivals are learning, presenting nights of jazz. At times classical stars sit in. (They better have their chops together!)

It should not surprise that improvisation is now seeping back into classical music, where it once played a large role. Younger composers, steeped in jazz, are writing 'open' elements into their work, places and ways for soloists and chamber groupings to blow freely on melodic, harmonic or rhythmic aspects of the specific composition. Famous pianists, in their recitals, are programming unwritten interludes, for music created on the fly.

It would appear that now is the time for lovers of jazz and classical to broaden their perspectives too, and listen more to the expanding panoply of thrilling music, famous and bubbling up, that's readily available. A jazz record label can play its part, presenting some of the work from artists on its roster that crosses into the classical world. And lend a forum to classical musicians to explore the byways of their tradition, deepening everyone's points of reference and potentially showing paths into musical departures yet to be explored.

That is some of the reasoning behind the new imprint, Origin Classical. We are curious to see where this all may lead. In the meantime, we expect to share some great music with the rest of the big world out there.


Origin Records was created in the fall of 1997 by Seattle drummer John Bishop to help in the design, production and distribution of jazz recordings made by his own groups and by artists he's known or worked with over his 25 years of performing.

With a great amount of early and continuing help from his former student, webmaster and New York drummer Matt Jorgensen, the label debuted on the web in 1998 and has grown steadily. With Matt's move back to Seattle in 2002, the focus has been to expand distribution, performing and recording opportunities for Origin artists as well as making developed resources available to a wider group of artists.

With Origin's rapid growth through its first 5 years, OA2 Records was started in June of 2002 to offer artists an additional outlet and to present a more clearly defined musical sensibility. The Origin/OA2 catalog now boasts releases from more than 100 artists who share the common goal of an ever-evolving musicians collective.

Since the Fall of 2003 Origin Records has produced the annual Ballard Jazz Festival, bringing legendary artists to Seattle to share the stage with some of the Northwest's finest musicians. In 2005 the festival was awarded the "Northwest Concert of The Year" by Earshot Magazine for the Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group's performance, now available on CD.

Trumpeter Chad McCullough joined the Origin team in 2006 as Artist Relations and Production Manager.

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