How a Music Director Spends His Sundays
Verve Label Group, which includes American jazz, classical and other eclectic labels, racked up 21 Grammy nominations this year (Jon Batiste, a nominee in the Record of the Year and Album of the Year categories , was responsible for 11 of them).
For Sunday’s awards ceremony, Jamie Krents, the company’s executive vice president, will be in Las Vegas. But most Sundays, Mr. Krents, 46, who played bass for the band French Kicks, is in Brooklyn with his wife, Lisa Ventry, 46, a preschool admissions consultant; their son, Charlie, 11; and the family’s rescue dog, Millie. He can’t say for sure what part of Brooklyn the family lives in. “Depending on who your broker is, it’s either Gowanus or Park Slope,” he said.
PERMANENT DISPOSABLE OFFSET Well, I get up early, usually between 6 and 7 am. These are not very rock ‘n’ roll hours. But years of international travel gave me permanent jet lag. The first hour or two of a Sunday is to deal with lingering emails from the work week, then catch up on reading some newspapers. If I don’t then it won’t happen.
NO TURTLE I’m trying to run in Prospect Park. I run very slowly, because I’m not a runner. I am someone who forces myself to do it. Before, I used to play basketball a lot, but those days are over, so now I do that. People wonder if I’m OK at my turtle pace. Sometimes I listen to the “Knuckleheads” basketball podcast, or sometimes I have stuff for work that I need to listen to that might be demos or potential signings or mixes and masters of the releases future. I have to make sure I feel good about this.
WHILE DOWNHILL Often I grab a coffee and a smoothie or something to eat on the way home. I am 90% vegan. Butter cookies and the occasional egg make it the truth. I stopped eating meat when I was 17. I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was 36, and I’m basically a fake coffee drinker: I get lattes at Starbucks or somewhere called Hungry Ghost. The key is that it’s all downhill at this point, downhill to our home by the Gowanus Channel, because I’ve suffered enough from the run. Why did I start drinking coffee at 36? I think it was the exhaustion of having a newborn. It’s funny, I was able to be a functional touring musician despite jet lag, but what finally nailed me was having a baby. I blame my son for this.
NEIGHBORHOOD GESTURE I usually take a shower and then try to practice bass. I try not to do it too soon, because my neighbors are nice, tolerant people, and one of the big nightmares of living in Brooklyn is seeing a bassist move in next door. So I try to do it at human moments. Either I will train alone or my son and I will play. He started playing guitar and he loves playing punk rock and classic rock. He loves Richard Hell. He loves playing Iggy Pop, the heavier stuff.
DECLUTTERING We tried to get rid of some things. There has been a lot of cleaning and purging. We spent time living in a house in DC during the pandemic, so when we came back to Brooklyn the walls were closing in. It was a bit small and crowded. So, in an effort to stay married, I threw away old shoes, old jackets, and old books. Sometimes we put them on the porch. People tend to grab them.
BASS OR BALLS I often go to the Retrofret guitar shop in Caroll Gardens in the afternoon. I collect vintage basses. I have a ton of them, much to my wife’s horror. If it’s a day for a warmer weather activity, I’ll sneak down the street to shoot hoops at JJ Byrne Playground. I’m trying to work on maintaining my mediocre jump shot. They also have a good skate ramp which Charlie likes.
IN DEPTH The end of the afternoon is devoted to more in-depth listening. Kurt Vile has a record coming out this year that excites me. It’s a great example of something I’ve been listening to for the past few weeks. I also get a lot of music sent to me unsolicited. I try to listen. We never know.
FAMILY DINNER Then it’s usually creeping around dinnertime. Whole Foods is a block away; that’s where we buy a lot of food, so my son won’t be able to go to university. My wife is an excellent cook. She will cook something or we will go to a local place like Song which has really good Thai food. We always have dinner together on Sundays, of course.
NIGHT GAG I go to bed early, 10 am at the latest, because I deal with international music markets early in the morning and because I am old. It’s not what it was when I played a lot of gigs, but it works. I try to read before bed. I’m reading Marc Myers’ oral history on the evolution of the rock concert. But basically it’s a joke arrangement I have with myself where I open a book, knowing I’m not going to get two pages before I fall asleep.