(Photo: Lindsay Beyerstein)
And now, the thrilling conclusion of our 18-part series, Know Your Co-Conspirators, in which we have been introducing you to the musicians involved in the making of our debut recording, Infernal Machines. Your final co-conspirator is the engine of the band, drummer and percussionist Jon Wikan.
Jon was born in Petersburg, Alaska, but grew up in Seattle, where he attended Central Washington University. He took a year off to tour with the Mills Brothers and Ellington alumnus Herb Jeffries. After college, he immersed himself in the Seattle jazz scene and was taken under the wings of multi-horn man Jay Thomas, Bill Ramsay, and composer James Knapp. During this period he became one of the busiest sidemen in the northwest area backing international artists including Pat Labarbra, Herb Ellis, John Fedchock, Rick Margitza, Buddy Collette, Roswell Rudd, Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, Bobby Shew, Brad Turner, Jessica Williams and Dan Faehnle.
Since moving to New York, Jon has recorded with pianist Geoff Keezer, toured Japan with Downbeat Vocalist of the Year Mark Murphy, and performed at the Blue Note with the New York Voices. He has performed with the Ingrid Jensen Quartet at the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, the Savannah Jazz Festival, and a live CBC radio concert in Montreal. He's also worked with Karrin Allyson, Sam Yahel, Ron Affif, Seamus Blake, Marcus Strickland, Jay Collins, David Budway, Mark Elf, David Berkman, Jeffery Smith, Antonia Bennett, and Aaron Parks. He is an active clinician/teacher, teaching drums and percussion at The New School and out of his home studio in Queens, NY.
Jon and his family have a place in Ellensburg, Washington, which was one of the communities hard hit by the recent flooding. He spent most of January out west rebuilding and repairing, including laying all-new floors.
He got back from the reconstruction just in time to play our Feb. 6 Jazz Gallery hit. His hands were all cut up from a month of 18-hour days working on the house, but I made him play the cajon anyway. No mercy.
Jon has been with Secret Society since our inaugural gig and has played almost every show ever since. It's impossible to imagine the band without him.
As part of our fundraising efforts for our Infernal Machines, we are offering you the opportunity to sponsor a Secret Society musician. Click here if you would like to sponsor Jon's appearance on our debut album.
IMPORTANT: The deadline for sponsoring a musician (or becoming our Executive Producer) is February 23, 2009. It's now February 21, which means you have two more days to take advantage of either offer. If you have a flair for the dramatic, now is the time to act.
However, you can continue to make individual donations (and have your name listed on our Thank You Page, if you wish) right up until the album's release in May. This recording is an incredibly ambitious and hugely expensive endeavor. The only reason it is happening at all is because of individual donations from people like you.
We say this a lot, but we really are extraordinarily grateful to all of our generous supporters. We would not be here without your help. Thank you all so very much.
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of Darcy James Argue's Secret Society may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.