EWU grad-student brings jazz to community

Imagine Jazz invites musicians to Spokane for workshops, concerts and more


Courtesy of Artist

Jazz musician Logan Richardson. Richardson has collaborated on over 30 albums.

By Erik Rötness, A&F Editor

Since moving to Spokane in 2009, EWU grad student and founder of the organization Imagine Jazz, Rachel Bade-McMurphy, has been working to promote the local-jazz scene. Now she is bringing musician Logan Richardson to town for music workshops at Spokane Falls Community College and EWU, finishing with a concert at Terrain in Spokane.

The events begin Oct. 2 at SFCC with an interactive masterclass. Students will listen and ask questions during an interview with Richardson and the musicians he brought with him, who will then play a short set. This allows students unable to make it to Terrain a chance to hear Richardson perform and gives others a taste of the concert the following evening. The event is open to the public.

After the set, students from EWU, SFCC, Washington State University and Whitworth University, as well as local professional artists, will perform for the Logan Richardson Quartet and receive direct feedback.

A slightly different format is in store on Oct. 3 at EWU, beginning with a talk on music business and how to form a band’s sound, followed by a performance from the Logan Richardson Quartet. Bade-McMurphy says that she’s particularly excited for the chance to bring this opportunity directly to students on campus who wouldn’t otherwise be able to make it out into the community.

The evening of Oct. 3 is the Logan Richardson Concert. Opening for Richardson is The Imagine Collective. A flexible, modular group of musicians who will begin the show with an interesting twist. The Imagine Collective will be presented with a piece of artwork they have never seen and use it as inspiration for a 30-minute set of improvisational music.

Logan Richardson, a saxophonist from Kansas City, Missouri, has collaborated with musicians on over 30 albums and will perform music from his fourth solo album “Blues People.” Richardson’s album is presented as “a sci-fi themed, hauntingly ‘80s referenced, soundtrack to his life.”

Over the years, Bade-McMurphy says she has received so much knowledge just from listening to artists like Richardson talk about where they’re from and what inspires them. She has gleamed tips and tricks by watching the way they walk, act and speak. It’s these little bits of information she says that can really help students realign what they’re supposed to be doing and how they should carry themselves.  

Bade-McMurphy is in her final year of EWU’s jazz-studies program. Of the two tracks within the program, performance and pedagogy, Bade-McMurphy chose pedagogy, describing it as basically the teaching of jazz music.

“A lot of it is playing in ensembles, history and theory components. Basically, what you would expect from a music major,” Bade McMurphy said.

While studying to teach jazz music, Bade-McMurphy works as a music instructor and clinician at RBMC Music Studio in Spokane. She also works in the Mead School District as a woodwind specialist in the elementary band department.

Tickets for the Terrain concert can be purchased from Imagine Jazz. The organization is the product of a lot of hard work, mostly from Bade-McMurphy and her husband Brendan McMurphy. Their goal was to try and stimulate jazz in Spokane by helping other artists. They wanted to create a sense of community and fellowship between musicians in town.•