Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Updated: Jan 3
In my very first post on this blog, a year ago, I observed that BRQ had just gotten over the initial hump of being “up and running” and that the challenge ahead was “simply to keep moving forward, keep growing as a musical unit, and continue establishing ourselves as part of the Bay Area musical community.” I added that it would “be fascinating to see how events unfold in 2018.”
As the year winds down, I can confirm that I was right; it has been fascinating to see how things worked out for the band over the course of this year.
We got off to an unexpectedly quick start when we got a last-minute call on January 4th to fill in for a group at Café Trieste in Berkeley. That gig got us started with that venue and its affiliated venue on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland; both became (and remain) regular stops for us.
Shortly after that I phoned up Café Leila, also in Berkeley, to inquire about playing there. By the time I got off the phone, I had (to my surprise) three dates lined up! Before long we were (and still are) playing there on the last Friday of every month.
So we were quickly off and running with regular gigs at the three cafes.
In April we made our first appearance at Riggers Loft Wine Company in Richmond, and immediately fell in love with the venue. Then in October we debuted at the Terrace Room in Oakland’s Lake Merritt Hotel, and loved it too.
In both cases, as with the cafes, we were asked back and established ongoing relationships that continue today.
Another interesting angle: We entered 2018 not knowing where we were going to play or when. We enter 2019 with (as of this moment) 18 gigs already booked over the course of the year. So I think it’s fair to say yes, we have established BRQ as part of the Bay Area musical community.
So that has been very gratifying. Equally gratifying, however, has been the support we’ve received from friends, family and folks we’ve met along the way. Friends and family have turned out repeatedly and have encouraged (and brought along) others. Former work colleagues have come around and brought others along with them. Some have posted pictures and/or video and helped spread the word. All of this has made us feel very supported, and that’s a great feeling.
Then slowly, a few people at a time, we’ve connected with folks who just happened to be where we were playing and liked us enough to want to see us again. That’s been great for business, but it’s also been an unexpected treat to meet so many nice and interesting people, and to make new friends through our shared enjoyment of the music.
Bottom line: 2018 was great for BRQ. It was the year we got established with great local venues and with a lot of great local appreciators of jazz.
So what awaits in 2019? I think the simple answer is: more of the same plus a bunch of different stuff too.
We’ll certainly continue playing at our current regular venues. In addition, we’re exploring other possible venues and contemplating some performance projects that would expand the range of what we do and take it to another level. Those are big steps into the presently unknown, so it’s exciting to think about where things might go in the coming year. I wonder what I’ll have to say about it when 2019 starts to wind down?
One thing for sure, though – we’re deeply grateful to the many people who supported us and contributed to BRQ’s success in our rookie year of 2018. We look forward to engaging with you more in 2019 and beyond, and we’ll do all we can to keep it fresh and interesting and evolving at all times.
Happy holidays, everyone.