I moved to Seattle from Maine in the summer of 1998, traveling by rail to reach the West. Other than finishing my last year of school at the UW, I really had no idea what to expect from life once I got out there.
Despite the unfamiliarity of it all, I quickly found a home and one of my new roommates brought me down to the Speakeasy Cafe one night after Bumbershoot in early September. It was a packed house and Aaron Straight’s jazz group, ‘Mustard, Ketchup, Relish’ was playing. I was so immediately drawn to the place and the vibe.
Looking for a part-time job during school, I dropped off resumes at a few Belltown locations. I remember passing my resume across the counter and it just happened to be the guy with the long braids who had played in the band I had heard there. That was October 1998 and the beginning of one of the most defining periods of my young adult life.
I remember Sunday mornings opening up the cafe — there would be filtered, ambient light streaming through the window panes as I spent a good 15 minutes taking the myriad of green and gold chairs off the tables. We had Wayne Horvitz’s grand piano for a long while, and once I finished up my opening duties, I would sit down and play the keys for a bit.
— Jaime Skolfield