from The Seattle Times:

About six months ago, Mack Waldron had the contract in his hand. Sign it and the club he had owned for 15 years, Tula’s, would belong to someone else. All he had to do was sign his name.

His lease was ending. His rent was going up. He was 67. His knees and his feet ached (that was the gout and the arthritis). Still, he’d always told himself he could do any of the jobs in his club if he had to, the cooking, the cleaning, the serving.

He decided to tear up the contract.

“I just couldn’t go through with it,” Waldron said. “I couldn’t part with it.”

And so Waldron continued for at least another three years what has become both his love and his burden.

The static popularity of jazz, the economics of hosting live music, the current recession — all have taken their toll on places like Tula’s, and in particular, on the open jam, a timeless ritual of jazz. Starting in February, Tula’s will have only two open jams per month instead of one every week. Once upon a time, Tula’s hosted two a week.

Continue reading at The Seattle Times.

Category:
Seattle Jazz

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. I like Tula’s and used to go there a lot. I’d still love to hang out there more but it’s the neighborhood, man. I was there a couple of weeks ago and the streets seemed truly threatening, as in dangerous. I didn’t mind paying the cover, buying food, and now paying the obligatory fee to park, but the short walk back to the car, even walking in group with a large male, really freaked me out. It’s the street scene in Belltown that’s killing things for Tula’s.

  2. The City of Seattle says they want to make this a music town … well they need to make the streets safer. I agree, Belltown is worse than some of the worse neighborhoods in New York because of the lack of police presence and businesses open late at night.

  3. And please note that most of those jam sessions were for vocalists…with grudging openness to horn players.

    There hasn’t been an open horn oriented jam session at Tula’s since the Cutler extravaganza took over Sundays back in 2004. I’ve heard Bill Anschell is hosting one once a month but it’s not clear if it’s solely for vocalists or not.

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