Jason Dean
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Jason Dean

Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


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Jason Dean self-titled mini LP released 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


Jason has been surrounded by music from an early age. His father was a rock drummer and timpani player in high school and was always playing records from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Queen on the family stereo. Naturally drums became the first instrument that he tried playing given the fact that there was a set readily available in the basement. Jason started playing saxophone at the age of 10 in the school band and continued playing until the age of 15 at which time he began discovering the guitar.

Fortuitous encounters with a perfect storm of influences that included a guitar playing neighbor, the local college radio station and consequently the bands who were just beginning to receive national attention as part of the "Seattle Scene"/ "Grunge" movement soon followed. This began to shape Jason's formative musical years as a teenager. During this period he began discovering many bands that would later be considered backbones of the "alternative," "college rock," "indie rock," world such as Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure, New Order, R.E.M., The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, as well as Mudhoney, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and the Melvins. It was also at this time that he became involved with the local community of skateboarders and starting reading Thrasher magazine. Being a part of this culture introduced him to the music and politics of eighties/nineties punk and post-punk bands such as the Minutemen, Black Flag, Fugazi, Nation of Ulysses and Sonic Youth.

Armed with a guitar and a rapidly expanding record collection Jason started playing with friends and immediately began forming bands that did punk covers. They began playing parties for friends, one of which included playing in a garage opening up for what was soon to become the increasingly popular Modest Mouse's third ever performance. Soon they began writing and performing their own songs. Thus, a lifelong addiction was born. In addition to guitar a love of modern poetry from the likes of Allen Ginsberg and Pablo Neruda began exerting an influence over Jason's lyrical writing that continues to be felt today. In high school and the years that followed he spent time working in the bands The Daylees, Polarity Runes and the High Speed LaBlonde Mekino Trio.

The pull of music has been an increasingly strong force in Jason's adult life and after two years at Green River community college during which time he was an Assistant Music director and hosted a "world music" show at KGRG and one quarter in the University of Washington English department he began the serious academic pursuit of music at Cornish College of the Arts studying jazz guitar. Here he began developing an understanding for music theory as well as expanding his musical ears within a community of serious musicians. He developed an enduring love and respect for jazz but still continued to write songs very much influenced by many of the Dischord records bands out of Washington D.C. After failing to reconcile these disparate influences he left Cornish due to what was ultimately an unsatisfying musical existence playing jazz guitar.

After leaving Cornish Jason briefly studied Ethnomethodology at the UW and worked his way back to performing jazz. At the UW he studied the music of Latin America, South Asia, and a African style of guitar playing known as "palm wine" under the private tutorship of Daniel "Koo Nimo" Amponsah. Also a discovery prompted by another neighbor led him to buy an old tenor saxophone and he began playing jazz again by learning and studying standard tunes as well as the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus. Soon he began playing saxophone with a loose collective of jazz musicians and co-led groups that played at many cafes, clubs and private parties throughout the Seattle area. Shortly thereafter he re-enrolled at Cornish and began studying and sharing the stage with notable musicians like Julian Priester, Hans Teuber, Jovino Santos-Neto and Amy Rubin.

While studying again at Cornish Jason could also be found playing bass in the band Argo. With Argo he played numerous shows throughout Seattle at the Crocodile Cafe, the Mars Bar, Consolidated Works and Graceland among others. He played bass and did the string arrangements on their their first EP released by Recovery records and their debut album "Jet Packs For Everyone" released in the spring of 2004 on the ana-them record label which was recognized as one of the top 50 northwest albums of the year by the threeimaginarygirls.com website.

After playing in Argo for a year he began working on a solo project writing and arranging songs that blended together influences like Wilco, Tom Waits, Flaming Lips, Brian Wilson, Elliott Smith and Bob Dylan. Through Argo he met Graig Markel and his band Versus On Venus and in the Spring of 2004 he recorded a three song demo at Graig's Recovery Room studio playing all of the instruments except the drumming that was done by Versus On Venus'