'Now, with the Internet being where it is, there's little that a record label can actually do for you," says Jamie, a jazz violinist, composer, label owner, and multimedia artist. "The Internet gives you world distribution, and it puts a lot of power into the hands of the independent artist. It's all you need to distribute your own material. It's as simple as an e-mail and a link."
I ask if her own CD is selling well on the Internet. "Yeah," she says. "I'm gonna hit it more this year." Then she's on to a new subject: "I'm doing cover shows. I did a [Antonio Carlos] Jobim night and a Legrand -- Michele Legrand night." Why? "I think, apart that [Legrand's] tunes translate so well onto violin, I had Mikan [Mikan Zlatkovich played piano at the gig along with Carlos Vazquez on drums and Bob Magnusson on bass], who also gave me encouragement. Michelle Legrand was a great piano player and a great composer. The next show we're gonna do is West Side Story." We agree that Leonard Bernstein was a treasure, that West Side Story is a forgotten jewel. "It's gonna be a Latin jazz version, and it's gonna maybe be a love story between the violin and the trumpet."
"How's your career been going otherwise?" I ask. "I see that you've been getting some good reviews."
"I feel like I've been getting respect and acknowledgement from a lot of other players...but that the general public doesn't know who the heck I am." She laughs. "Maybe a couple of monks in Tibet." She laughs again. "My two fans in Tibet. I'm also trying to support -- we were talking about the Internet and this media distribution for independent artists, and I'm really trying to get a lot of these local jazz guys to do that with their music by building them websites and visual presentations." Jamie, with partner John Paul Jones, a former art director for the late Bill Graham, operates ShadowlightStudios.com.
Jamie was born in Seoul, Korea, and now lives in Pacific Beach. She is 30. She prefers to use only her first name. She moved to San Diego a dozen years ago, an unknown and unsigned artist. She played her first gig at the long-defunct Innerchange on Turquoise, the coffeehouse with the whale painted on the outside. She has since worked with locals Gilbert Castellanos, Joe Marillo, Robin Henkel, Blonde Bruce, Paul Kamanski, and Tomcat Courtney.
"My MP3 player is very new," Jamie says. "Right now I just use it to listen to music, but I have a feeling it is going to be a big part of working. I [videotaped] my last two live shows, and I have them [downloaded] on my MP3 player. It's a 30-gig iPod. It's a video iPod, which means I can play videos on it." She hands me the device. It is a slim appliance with a white face and chrome back. It reminds me of an expensive cigarette case. "Gilbert [Castellanos] has had an iPod for about a year now," she says, "and he uses it to check the mix on his recording projects. He loads the mix into the iPod and plays it through different speakers.
"Another cool thing is that when I was preparing for the Jobim night and the Legrand night," she says, "I was able to discover a lot of songs that I was unfamiliar with on iTunes. At the touch of a button I was able to compare five different versions, from Sarah Vaughn doing a Legrand song, to Bill Evans, to Oscar Peterson, Astrid Gilberto, all doing the same song. And all of a sudden I get this education, this comparison of different individualistic interpretations of the same song."
Jamie's iPod Video Top 10:
1. "It's Wonderful," Stuff Smith
2. "A Felicidade," Antonio Carlos Jobim
3. "A Sunday Kind of Love," Etta James
4. "Blowin' in the Wind," Bob Dylan
5. "Blue and Green," Miles Davis
6. "Caravan," Art Blakey
7. "Everything Is Broken," Bob Dylan
8. "No More Blues," Antonio Carlos Jobim
9. "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)," Sarah Vaughan
10. "Family Affair," Sly and the Family Stone