BUILD IT, AND THEY WILL COME
An Interview with Paul Lines by Cathy Segal-Garcia
CSG: Tell me how the idea came to you to form the Pasadena Jazz Institute.
PL: Honestly, this idea could be offensive to some people. The truth of it is, I was teaching at a black school, teaching a piano class. And the kids in the class gave up, essentially, on themselves, in 3 weeks. As soon as the road...you know, learning anything new. It's fun at first, but there comes a point where you have to put something into it...to get something out of it. So after 3 weeks in the black school, they gave up on themselves. I was doing the same program, at the same time, same me (same person), in an Hispanic school 2 miles away. Those kids, after 8 weeks, did a piano recital. They tore it up. My conclusion...I agonized over why this was the case. My conclusion was, lack of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, and an essential lack of belief in themselves. These are little kids...age 7 to 11. This is a period where there should be a voracious appetite for learning. But it went beyond that...I felt like the black children felt that they couldn't do it. They'd say, "I can't. I can't do this. It's too hard." I know it sounds crazy, but that is the long side of the fact that northwest Pasadena is what they would call a blighted area. Economically depressed...there's no businesses...they can't open a market there...it's a blighted area. So one morning...and it sounds made up, like it can't be true. I actually woke up, early in the morning, and the whole idea was laid out before me. And that was to build an ultra modern, multi-million structure, "The Pasadena Jazz Institute". And it would be a steel and glass beautiful building, on the top of the hill...meaning Lincoln, or Fair Oaks...in northwest Pasadena. A magnet of activity. It would be the cultural and economic anchor to the revitalization of northwest Pasadena. Now after saying that, you say, "Well gosh, that sounds like a lot of big words.." But think about it...now, the cultural anchor, ok, so how's that? Well, it occurred to me, for blacks, for the minorities...to give the go to a place that honored ...and it's a place of honor, cause it's a beautiful building. It's not just showing pictures of Duke Ellington in a picture book at school, it's a big beautiful building, so it's an awe-inspiring building. "Whatever's in there must be pretty important" That's what's in your mind. You go in...there's the Jazz Gallery...the power of the Institute. A pictorial history of American music. Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner...I mean, you could go on and on. Charlie Parker... These are the great initiators, founders, of this great music. But everyone's in there. So the Gallery teaches first of all, for young black African-Americans...would go in...the simplified concept is that they'd go in with an "I can't" attitude, and leave with an "I can" attitude. Because when you think about even Louis Armstrong...here's a man who's contributed a great deal to American culture and is known and revered all over the world. And Duke Ellington, Miles Davis. They did this at a time in America when it was incredibly impossible to achieve. This was before voting rights...before civil rights. Louis Armstrong, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton...what they were doing with the Benny Goodman quartet. Or Roy Eldrige...you can go on and on and on. They did great things. But right now, certainly not in Los Angeles, not in America...this would be a first. That's the cultural anchor. It also teaches integration. Jazz teaches integration. Everyone comes together for one purpose...to create great music. I mean, 1934? They beat Jackie Robinson to beat the color barrier...by 20 years, in the jazz world. We should know that. Jazz is the music, the soundtrack, of the 20th century. In America, certainly. And it's revered all over the world. So we need a place, we should have a place that honors that.
And the economic anchor...cause like I say, it'll be a magnet of activity...I can envision 75,000 school children per year...just school children...visiting the Jazz Institute for a tour of the Jazz Gallery, and their very first live jazz concert. Perhaps performed by the Pasadena Jazz Orchestra. Or visiting professionals. On the grounds of the Institute is also the Jazz Sculpture garden, you have the Jazz Gallery, which is an incredibly powerful....you can look at the picture, you can press the button, we will also have CDs, headphones...just like in a museum, where you get a brief history of the artist and the music of the artist. Move to the next one, you get a brief history of the artist and the music of the artist. There's an educational wing, where we teach, we have theory classes, and all the different era's of jazz are taught. Ragtime to modern Jazz. There's a small performance space...135 seats...a small performance theater. And then the large...650 seats theater...for visiting artists, for art shows....there's a library...and a screening room, where there'll be screenings, lectures, etc. And, like I said, 75,000 school children per year. And not only does it teach American history, but it builds a jazz audience for the future! And people from other countries would come to the Jazz Institute to see and hear and experience it. So we'd be honoring America's premier musical contribution to the world and creating a 4th business district for the city of Pasadena.
CSG: One thing I'm curious about, is how you keep this goal so alive in your mind? Obviously you're making it work already...you're building your way to this goal. But it sounds like you know it like you know your bedroom...you know where every piece of furniture is, every article of clothing...
PL: That's a great question. I see it so clearly in my mind. I can see it my mind. Not all the architectural detail, but it's very clear. There's 3 divisions. Concerts, Education division, and Booking Division. The Museum...I don't' want to say Museum, but the Institute itself...it's very clear. I can see the front desk, and I can see the person greeting you when you walk in, and asking you if you want headphones, or not. Do you want a group tour, or do you want to do the tour on your own? There could be special tours...you could do the general tour, a general jazz history tour, or you could do the pianist tour. You could do the jazz drumming tour. You can create different tours in the gallery part. I can see the buses pulling up in front, and I can see the restaurants and shops lining up before you get to the Institute. I see the International theme of the Jazz Institute. It's very clear. The answer to your question, also, is I have no idea. Before this came into my mind, I was a sideman playing the drums, and teaching basic piano and keyboard classes, and drumming. I don't want to bring Divinity into it, but I sometimes wonder. I'm driven...for almost 2 years now, when I get up in the morning, I think about the Jazz Institute. Every day. I know it sounds like, "Well, he can't really be serious...", but the truth is...if I get off track or things seem hard, I think about the big shiny building. And I say, go downtown Los Angeles, there's the Colburn School of Music. A 20 million dollar facility, dedicated to the preservation of European classical music. Across the street, you got the Dorothy Chandler, dedicated to the preservation of European classical music. Walk down two blocks, you have over 200 million dollars in county Disney Hall, dedicated to the preservation of European classical music. Where's our big shiny building? For America's premier music? It's going to happen, whether I have something to do with it or not. Someone, in some city...it's going to happen. But we could be the first, here, to do it. Now's the time to do it.
CSG: Also, you could have picked another city...
PL: Well, Pasadena prides itself, and is a self-proclaimed cultural city. Now I'm a little bit bias, because I live here. To do it in Los Angeles...they'll probably end up doing it there, something like that. But I don't think they'll be to move it as fast as we can here. And they don't have a salesman like me on their team yet. I'm just saying it's too big. It'll happen eventually, but Pasadena is the perfect spot. I see the ability to gain support for it. We do have a problem here, it's a blighted area. What it does is it covers so many bases. Not only is it a great thing to do for the music and the musicians...it creates a revitalization of a blighted area.
CSG: Right. Now let me ask you this...this to me is exciting, partly, because, over my lifetime, especially in the last 20 years...I've thought a lot about goals that are uplifting, that get thwarted down by various sources. Partly because I'm a jazz musician and a singer, partly because of the condition of mankind. And I've studied Scientology for 25 years, and that's a big huge button in Scientology. The goal being kind of along what you're saying, but not specifically involving music. So I've been extremely sensitive to the suppression out there, especially against high goals. So, that intrigues me a lot. You are definitely a strong individual, but I know you have to have a strong support system around you, or at least, a real powerful and great support system that's really helping you. I mean, having the goal in mind is one thing, but also you must have people around you who are very helpful. Is that correct?
PL: Well, the truth is, not as many as you'd think. I'm trying to build that kind of support. Do you mean financial support?
CSG: Financial and personal.
PL: My wife is letting me do this. I think having a Russian wife, who believes the arts are maybe the highest form of human activity. Really, the Russians believe in the arts. There's a hierarchy of people, and the artists belong on the top rung of the ladder. So that helps. But there is a financial concern as well, and it's difficult to make this... But for me, personally...this is going to sound really silly...but what happened is that I bought this house with my wife...it's a real fixer upper. So, what does construction have to do with this? I gutted the master bedroom and the master bathroom, by myself. Gutted the whole thing...I've always done some carpentry, but this...everything was gutted, and I did it all myself. This sounds crazy...some of the stuff I've never done before...I put beams in the ceiling, I'll show you sometime. What happened to me with this construction project, was a revelation...an epiphany! What I realized, is if I could see it in my mind...if I could see it...I could achieve it. Well now, you think this...well gosh, building this big building, or doing this, is gonna be a lot bigger than remodeling your house. But what I did, was, that took me 9 months to do it. And if I could see it, I could achieve it. And it's really true. When I look at this gorgeous bedroom, I can't believe I did this. And that is what I came to and what I truly believe...if you can see it, you can achieve it. Now, just because you have a picture in your mind, there's a lot of stuff... you still...there's a lot of stuff you have to work on with great vigor. And that's what I do. You're right. What we're doing with the concert series, the education division? Everything, everything is leading to that big shiny building. And that's what I say...I can see the building. I can achieve it. That's a good quote. It sounds like a Tony Robbins thing. But there's a lot of truth in that. But it's not easy. And we've had our...we got booted out of the theater. We're 6 months behind now. Cause we'd be tearin it up right now.
CSG: Yeah, that must have been disappointing.
PL: It almost ended the Jazz Institute. This is so exciting for anyone who wants to achieve anything...is that I was really about to quit. I couldn't see our way out, and we had some debt after that first run. There was no cash flow. There was really no support. When your friends...the phones...from 17 phone calls a day, there was nothing. Nobody...and even musicians walked on me too, they said, "Oh yeah, I heard that thing ended..." And they're gone. Nobody was calling me, helping me lick my wounds. I was on my own, but that hardened me. I've seen the abyss. I saw the gorilla. Nothing will deter me now. You realize with something like this...and I know right now CEO's are getting beaten up. Now that's a situation where...I don't know, it's unbelievable to me. Cause I have the utmost love and respect for the Pasadena Jazz Institute. I happen to be the driving force, and I know that if I went down right now, the whole thing would go down. There's no one that I've ever met, as of right now, that would take over. But you watch. When we build the building, there'll be plenty of people to take over. The Pasadena Jazz Institute...that's how it's structured...it's a public benefit corporation. The administration will change, it's gonna last for 100 years or more. Once we pull this off, it will last forever. And think about what that does for young musicians. I have nothing against jazz clubs and that whole scene, but this is going to add something else into the picture. "Someday, mom, I'm going to be in the Pasadena Jazz Orchestra." Or "I'm going to teach at the Institute." There will be something there.
CSG: I was thinking about this article, and I probably won't put this into the article, but I'd like to say it here. I know that people with high ideas, very excited, like yourself, are not taken very well by at least 70% of the people. Because, living at a lower emotional tone and trying to come up to the higher level...not many people are able to do that. Not many people live in a higher emotional tone. You are rare in that way. Why I got excited about this...
A smaller percent of the population is able to look at somebody who's excited and trying to create high level things, and jump in there with them. Most people, unfortunately, are...
PL: In a gray zone.
CSG: Yeah, they're apathetic, they're unconscious, or they're jealous.
PL: That's so true. I've been very surprised. The most difficult thing I've had doing this...I can't believe there are so many people trying to tear it down. And there are. There are people who tear me down. No mention of names, but I'm amazed that everyone in the jazz community doesn't jump on board...and say, "Let's all pull together and do this." Cause it would be easier. It's going to happen anyway. It's going to happen somewhere, anyway. We could all make this happen a lot quicker if everyone could put down their egos and say, let's do this...for the good of everybody. I see this as a benefit for everybody, in every way. Just having the shiny building up there would be an amazing thing. Staffing...people are paid. It's a job. You work in the educational division, you do the concerts, you're either teaching privately or you're going out to the schools, cause we have a network. And that's how we build a network. See, I'm already planning. Can you imagine...I'm kind of a visionary type of guy, a little bit. I've already thought this out. Once we build the building, I can see...Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks talking at the Rose Parade. You say, "What the hell's that got to do with it?" But the Rose Parade...that's beamed Internationally all over the world. "Oh, Stephanie! Look what's coming up! A float with Pasadena Jazz Orchestra, playing the Duke Ellington's "Nutcracker Suite" And then they got the balloons flying over the Jazz Institute. And they're going, "Yes, and the Pasadena Jazz Institute began in 2000, and they do classes for education and they do concerts all over the world," etc. And that's beamed all over the world. So that counts for tourism. And it also enables us to book our programs and our musicians all over the world. They saw it on the Rose Parade! Huge. It's JPL. It's like Cal Tech, like UCLA. It's all over the world. I say the Pasadena Jazz Institute...but people in Los Angeles are gonna go, "Hey, why Pasadena?" Well, early bird gets the worm folks, sorry. But see what I'm saying? It's huge. And what did I mean? Educational dept builds our jazz audience. For all the clubs, for the Charlie O's, for the Steamers... The other thing...those concerts on our program schedule...we could send those programs all over the world. Because of branding, because of name recognition, just like Coca Cola sells all over the world. People know what it is. We could do the same thing. It's a rebirth, it's a rebirth of jazz, in a sense. So what was the question?
CSG: I was just bringing up the point that there are some people who tear it down. That in itself makes it hard on a individual to continue, unless they have a support group around them.
PL: I sold advertising for 6 years. I'm thick skinned. I went through all the sales training classes. I'm a salesman, I'm a salesman. That's what I did. I don't want to make it sound like I'm so arrogant. But I've already made the commitment, and I'm unstoppable. I'm my own support group, I'm my own armored tank unit. I can't be stopped. It's too good of an idea. It needs to be done. Somebody might as well do it.
CSG: And you might as well be the person.
PL: Well, like I say, if you can see it, you can achieve it. And I will get the support. People who don't support it now, and they want to shoot arrows at me, so be it. There will come a day when they'll be knocking at the door, saying, "This is really nice. Can I be a part of it?" I swear to God. I know it's going to happen. And anyone through history, who's done something slightly new, takes a load of attack...for whatever reason. But we're going to do it.
CSG: I noticed...I went to the Jazz site...and by the way, I'm going to send in my $50...
PL: Oh, we got you for $50! You're believing in the vision...
CSG: I'm going to start there anyway. I want to mention the membership involvement in the article.
PL: And the Jazz Party on September 14th. I use it because it's a jazz jam, and wer'e going to feature the finest jazz musicians in L.A> But it's also because I need help on this. I ask everybody for help. A lot of musicians are skeptical. They say, "Wait a minute. What's in it for me? Are you exploiting me? There's a lot of musicians...especially jazz musicians, are....dark.
CSG: Along those lines...I was living with a sax player, a black man from Houston originally. And I've been living here since '76, and always been involved with jazz. And I thought...I must have been naïve...I didn't know what a certain group of musicians were thinking. I really didn't know. Until I was living with him. And he started telling me these things, and I said, "Oh no, no...that's impossible." And I would find out that they...had particular thoughts and attitudes that were quite negative, that I hadn't believed. And it's not every musician. There's a certain group that seems to be, again, in an emotional tone level, where they kind of live in that stuff. I was very surprised actually. I've been around musicians all my life, my dad was a sax player...you know what I mean? And I totally know, because I've promoted so many different things over the years as well...some people don't want to be video'd, even if it's a home video...or they wouldn't think of coming and playing at certain functions. Basically I realized, quite a while ago, that some musicians are gonna be like that and some aren't. I mean, why can’t we all work together?!
PL: That's where I'm at. Being in the sales thing, also...I go to Chamber of Commerce meetings, all the stuff, when I was selling advertisements. There's no guarantee's. It's called networking. It's being out there, being seen, making connections and relationships. The jazz party enables musicians to build relationships with the Jazz Institute. If you're not seen...I have guys call me up, "hey, why didn't you hire me for the Concert Series?" Well, there's so many great musicians out there...I don't know, geez, I didn't think about it. Yeah, you're great...we'll do something next year. Guys in my little circle, they're hung up on this concert series, because there's glossies and TV ads. OK, put that in there...I run TV ads on my stuff. How many...when's the last time you saw a TV ad on Catalina's Bar and Grill? Or Charlie O's. We're doing it. It's bigger, it's going to be bigger. I'm not promising anything to anybody. You can't put that in the article. But an event like the jazz party... Hey, as a business man...when you go to job interviews... Look at these job fairs. All these people go out for jobs. They put their resume in. And what do they do? There's no guarantee that they're gonna...you know, "Why didn't you hire me? I came to your jazz party." Whatever. But they're there. They're being seen, they're being heard, and they're helping to build. If you believe...I want believers on the team. For me, for doing this...you're right, it's very hard. My support system? Not much of anything. I've got 5 board members. It's tough. I'm my own support system right now. But I'm not going to sound like some macho guy...it's true, the bones are gonna break, I'm gonna run out of gas. I haven't yet. I've got another good year, with no help. If I get help, if we build a team, we'll be able to do this quicker, faster, with less stress and strain. Cause yah, I can see myself going early, with a massive heart attack. How can you run at this high octane? Nature doesn't allow it. The candle that burns twice as fast burns half as long. And that's where I'm at, and I realize that. That's the sacrifice I'm making, I realize that. But I think it's worth it. Hey, you live and die. Is it worth it, to go and build that big shiny building and then cut out of here? That sounds good to me, I don't mind, at least I did something. Anyway, but the jazz party...hey, I've got my eyes open. But I'm not doing this right. I'm telling you how I really feel...I want musicians who believe in what we're trying to do. I look around and say, how could you not really believe in it? I don't have anything against Charlie O's...but is that the best we can do? What do you tell your students? "Gosh Johnny, if you practice 8, maybe 10 hours a day, eventually, you can get a gig at Charlie O's!" Oh my God!
CSG: (laughter)Yeah, that's really true.
PL: Then you got Colburn School of Music. If you practice really good, play your Mozart Sonatas, you get to play at Zipper Hall! Now that's what we want, we want our own Zipper Hall. Look, I went to a recital over there. It was for a teacher..a violin instructor. And all his students...he paraded his students...there were about 13 students, from about 7 to 22. And they all played the violin, with piano accompaniment, at Zipper Hall. I just couldn't help but imagine...that we could have our...Charlie Parker Awards Series. Where we have a 10 year old saxophone player, all the way up to our 22 year old, playing alto sax, and playing bebop. Mastering that art...bebop. So the jazz party, Sept 14. It's an opportunity for musicians to come and celebrate America's Premier music contribution to the world, which they already know that, cause they spend half their life practicing it. And get to know me, the founder and the director. Make connections, network with other musicians. For musicians, if your bring your horn, it's free. If you don't bring a horn, it's $25. It's a fundraiser for the Pasadena Jazz Institute. It helps us achieve our mission.
Between you and me, no names, but I just had a guy walk on the board. Part of it was the jazz party, part of it was that there weren't enough black musicians in the concert series. Can you believe that? After all the work I've put into it? It really hurts me. Sit by the sidelines...watch the building go up. You can just bitch. A lot of guys can't think outside of the box. They can only see what's in front of them. Like the fundraiser. They see money raised for what...to enrich Paul Line? That's what they see. That money, if we make any money, is already earmarked to produce our Education Division promotional material. Now look what that does. Once we produce that material and postage, to send it out. We're talking thousands...
But once we do that...You have to spend money to make money. That's an old adage, and it's so true. I send that educational division material out, to every school to Glendora, to Malibu, to San Pedro. And what does that mean? They start buying those programs for school districts? I'm calling musicians for the middle of the afternoon to go make a couple of hundred bucks. I envision 5 to 10 bands working every single day...in the afternoon. I can see guys making $750 a week, before 5:00 in the afternoon. I'm just saying, just doing the educational division. And then they still have Friday and Saturday nights to go play at Charlie O's. But see to me, I'd much rather play at the auditorium at the school to 300 excited kids, than 17 people sipping scotch at Charlie O's. That's just me. But see, if you put that in that article, they'll kill me, they'll crucify me. I'm just saying, sipping scotch at Charlie O's...hey guys are working, I think that's great. I went in to Charlie O's the other night. Don Menza was playing with Ron Anthony… there were 7 or 8 people there. Hey, I got a scotch too! I'm there, I'm no stranger to jazz clubs...I was at Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit almost every weekend when I was 17 years old. So, I know all about it, I'm just saying, we can do better. Let's have something extraordinary! We can have the jazz clubs, we can still do that. Great! But also, let's have something extraordinary. But the jazz party...after the article you can say something like, "Hey, if you believe in this wacko's vision, show up at the Jazz Party, and meet the guy in person! I'm gonna tell the story at the jazz party. You never know when the opportunity is gonna come. Susan and George Kinney, they've got a beautiful home. They own Castle Press. They know everyone in Pasadena, they've been here 30 years. Now at that jazz party, when I say about the vision of the ultra modern, steel and glass structure of the Pasadena Jazz Institute, the jazz Gallery, the Sculpture garden, the educational division, the performance spaces. When I run that by people...the economic, the cultural anchor...hey, it only takes one person. It only takes one rich guy to say,"Gosh Margeret. I like that guy! He's got a lot of... I'm going to call Bill and Joe, and we're going to buy some real estate up there and see if we can't make this happen!" That's all it takes! I just read in the L.A. Times today...they just built in Santa Rosa California, an 8 million dollar museum dedicated to Charles Schultz. Now, I like Charles Schultz, I think he's great. They built a museum of his work. 8 million dollars! Jesus! We're just talking about building a museum for America's Premier music that's served the country and the world well for 100 years! Served the country and the world for over 100 years! For God's sake, can't we do that?!
PL: I'm sorry. You're getting a taste of how I really am.
CSG: I love it! I am a definitely a person, like I told you when I first called you...I'm a person who's doing what you're doing, but on a much smaller level. I'm helping singers get smarter, I'm giving people jobs... you know, when I go out and get a room to book, I don't just put myself in it. I book other people. Like I was sending out an email about this new club in little Tokyo that I've been working at, and I said, "Come, and let me introduce you to the booking guy." Because I want to see this place fly. I'm not going to work there every night...come! Stuff like that, I just keep doing, doing, doing. I've had these workshops at my house for the last 3 years. I have myself as a clinician, and literally, visiting artists...either from town, or from some other state or country, who are coming through performing. And they make an extra $200 or so...
PL: Great, well, what you're talking about...Imagine. You're on staff at the Jazz Institute. You have a beautiful facility. You go in, and you do those. We do those everyday at the Jazz Institute. We've got all of the schools, they get to come, they can choose from...we have all the audio-visual stuff...we can produce these shows, and circulate them through the educational markets, all over the country, all over the world. All of our shows, everything can be recorded. We can create a record label....where we can have live jazz....live jazz from the Institute. We can do...there's too many ideas! We do our annual...the Armstrong Awards, on Bravo, live, from the Jazz Institute. Where's the problem? Where's our Armstrong Awards? Where's our award show, dedicated to excellence in Jazz performance, education, and composition? Come on!
CSG: I wonder if there's a connection with IAJE to be had? Have you checked that out? IAJE is good, altho you have to create something yourself and put it through, because they have their politics and such. But they have about 8,000 people in it.
PL: I haven't tried on that yet. I'm still a one man show...and it's hard to do everything. If you look at the Program...I sold all the sponsorships, sold all the ads, booked all the musicians, wrote all the blurbs, I created all the shows. I'm not bragging...I'm just saying the reality is, that just about kills the guy. And then, what about the venue? I have to make the deal with the venue, I have to get all that stuff... But hey, we're just beginning here, wait ‘till we get the staff...it'll just get bigger and better.
CSG: Hey, and by the way, Professor G. He sounds like a great person to have on this team.
PL: Oh, he's amazing! I owe him the whole venue. We wouldn't be even having this conversation right now.
CSG: And he got the idea himself and just called?
PL: Well, he came to almost every concert last year in the series. I didn't even know this. And then an article came out in the Pasadena Jazz News that said "Pasadena Jazz Institute sings the blues, seeks new home" And when he saw that, he called me up and said,"We have a 290 seat auditorium over here. I want you to come look at it." And I did. And that's how that happened. It's a better venue. And next year, well, it's very possible we're moving to Norton Simon next year. They called us. Look at that. They've been there for years, it would be an amazing cultural coup to pull this off. Jazz at Norton Simon, in the auditorium, a 250 seat auditorium. It's the cultural gem of Pasadena. To have jazz...now that is the complete opposite of Charlie O's. And I don't' mean to keep beating up on Charlie O's... But to have a jazz concert at Norton Simon Museum. I had a guy call me today and said, "Yeah, I want to have jazz in the alley." I said, "I don't do alleys." I'm opposed to having jazz in an alley. I said, "What are you going to do with the dumpster in the alley?" He said, "Oh, we'll decorate it." I'm not going to put Tierney Sutton in an alley. I know you can still get guys to play in an alley. I know you can. It's a gig. They'll do it. But the Jazz Institute is not going to do it. And the Jazz Institute is not going to do a show at Clancy's Crab Shack. "Call 1-800-323-CRAB!" I'm sorry, I know it sounds so arrogant of me, but I believe there will be a niche, we'll build a niche, where people will appreciate a class act, and that's what we're going to do.
CSG: Did anyone ever write an article on you and title it "Build it, and They will Come" ?
PL: No, but that's really good! I've tried for something like that! I like that! But who knows, you know what might just happen? Someone in L.A. might see that article, some mover and shaker...and say, "God Damn it! We're not going to let Pasadena do this first! We're going to do it!" And it's possible. The L.A. Jazz Institute. And I think the market's big enough, you could have both. But wouldn't it be interesting? A race to build the Jazz Institute!
You never know. It could change. This guy did not agree...he was a jazz musician, and he said "Jazz is the people. Jazz is still growing and thriving, and you're trying to make it into a museum piece." There are people who don't want to see that. They're like...jazz isn't supposed to be in a museum. I say, "You don't understand. Jazz is alive. First of all, there's music all over, and it's being studied and practiced and performed.
CSG: And what do they think a museum is? A museum doesn't just show past stuff. A museum honors present and past, and future. That's just a person who is...we all know plenty of people like that.
PL: Well, they have this thing, that jazz is a smoky club...there's 15 really hip people there, and they're diggin my sounds. You know, whatever. Well, yeah, that's part of the history. But...they used to play Mozart's music on a barge. Or Hyden...used to entertain the king with 15 of his courtiers.
CSG: Anyway… they want that? Well, you can make another venue in the Jazz Institute, where it can built like a jazz club.
PL: Exactly. Look, Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit...it was magical. It was just magical! And I've never been to a club that had that. It was so cozy. There were little booths, you could sit up close. I saw Dexter Gordon there 5 or 6 times. Something like that. It would be great. Now that's great. You have a small club. You got the mirrors everywhere so you can see the piano players' hands. Small performance place. If you just added that to the Jazz Institute. Cause I was going to do a small - like the balcony theater, small performance space, and a large performance space. But it would be great to have a club, a small performance space, and then the large performance space. So you've got the 60 seat room, 135, and 650. You cover all the bases. See, I thought this all out. How do you support this? Do you know that the Jazz Institute will be the most popular business meeting place in Southern California? Companies will rent out the performance space in the afternoon. Their clients can come, saunter through the sculpture garden, peruse the jazz Gallery, go inside the 650 seat performance space. We'll capture everything on state of the art video and audio equipment...their annual meeting. For the afternoon...12-2. We book it, and it costs them $2700 for the space and food. For a room at the Doubletree, a room costs $2000. A box room with a microphone, for a group of 200 people. I'm just saying, we go in there and take over that market. There' all these other things we can do there, that are pretty extraordinary.