We continue our daily profiles of the musicians involved in the making of the Brooklyn Babylon recording with a look at drummer and percussionist Jon Wikan.
Jon has accompanied a diverse cross-section of leaders, ranging from singers Ernestine Anderson, Denise Donatelli, and Freddy Cole to established insturmentalists such as Steve Wilson, Terrell Stafford, and Geoff Keezer. In 2010, Jon toured Turkey, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh with the Charlie Porter Quartet, a tour sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rhythm Road program. (He blogged about the experience here.) Born in Petersburg, Alaska, Jon was transplanted to Seattle at age 5. He was turned on to the drums in high school and worked summers on an Alaskan commercial fishing boat in order to buy his first drum set. Jon is the brewmaster behind Secret Society's official beer (an espresso porter, of course). In April 2011, Jon and Ingrid became the proud parents of baby Kårinna, who is becoming quite the road warrior — she accompanied us on last year's Canadian Incursion when she was just nine weeks old, and she'll be joining the band on our imminent trip to Brazil.
Last summer, Jon and Ingrid put in a bid on a forclosed home in Ossining, NY (home of Sing Sing Correctional Facility). They closed on it August 1. They knew it needed a bit of work. Jon is an experienced DIY-er and had figured it for a two-month reno job. It proved to be more like nine.
Here is a partial list of some of the things Jon has done to the place so far: replaced the entire foundation drain system, including driveway drains and gutter drains — this required a backhoe. Jackhammered out a 3-foot deep concrete patio, which was in the way of the drain system, then jackhammered out the entire basement. Replaced the lally coulmns (the concrete-filled steel posts that hold the building up). Tore out the floors and subfloor of the entire main living floor. Gutted two bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, hallway, and part of the living room. Re-wired almost the entire house. Replaced an entire weight bearing outside wall of the house. Ripped out every last piece of plumbing from the outside of the house up. Re-roofed and added a skylight. Installed a state-of-the art hydronic floor heating system. Installed a new bathroom with old-fashioned subway tile and mosaic accent stripe.
I asked Jon what he actually left alone. He thought about that for a bit and told me: "The chimney. I started to go at it with a sledgehammer but gave up when it would not move."
As part of our fundraising efforts for our upcoming recording, Brooklyn Babylon, we are offering you the opportunity to sponsor a Secret Society musician — if you would like to sponsor Jon's appearance on our new album, or lend your support at any level, please visit our Kickstarter page.
MUSICIANS AVAILABLE FOR SPONSORSHIP: Erica von Kleist • Rob Wilkerson • Sam Sadigursky • John Ellis • Josh Sinton • Seneca Black • Tom Goehring • Matt Holman • Nadje Noordhuis • Ryan Keberle• James Hirschfeld • Sebastian Noelle • Gordon Webster • Matt Clohesy • Jon Wikan