By Paul de Barros
Seattle Times jazz critic
When asked to reflect on the 10th anniversary of Origin Records, label co-chief Matt Jorgensen had a deadpan reply.
“We’re still here,” he said.
A triumph of lowered expectations?
Perhaps. But people in the jazz world know just how wildly optimistic it was to hope that two Seattle drummers, Jorgensen and Origin founder John Bishop, could actually survive — no, not just survive, prosper — in a crumbling industry where jazz accounted for less than 3 percent of sales.
“This is a huge thing for any kind of label, but more importantly a jazz label,” said Jorgensen. “I think we’re stronger and more relevant now than we ever have been.”
No arguments there. The label has so far released 200 CDs, mostly by Northwest artists, four of which have won Grammy nominations. According to the JazzWeek National Airplay Chart, more Origin albums were played on the radio this week than those of any other label, including giants like Blue Note and Concord. Generally, said Jorgensen, Origin ranks in the top five for radio play every year.