In 1996 Steven Briggs was tapped to serve as Arrangements Chair for the 50th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Arbitrators, a group of professionals specializing in the resolution of labor disputes. One of the tasks Briggs faced was the hiring of musical entertainment for the Board of Governors Dinner — a black tie affair. Included among the invitees were a former U.S. Secretary of Labor, several government officials, and numerous distinguished professors and arbitrators. The venue was the Moulin Rouge Cabaret at Chicago’s Fairmont Hotel.
Briggs determined that vintage jazz would be ideal for the occasion. He pictured Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli playing their hearts out in some Paris nightclub, and knew that recreating such an atmosphere would be a big hit with the Academy’s Governors and their guests. Chicago was the perfect city to begin looking for musicians capable of playing the gig. Briggs started making phone calls. As he described what he was looking for, the name “Don Stiernberg” came up again and again.
Briggs placed a call to Stiernberg, initially asking if he could assemble a group of appropriate musicians for this important evening. As it turned out, that was a very naive question. Man, could he ever! Playing the gig on Tuesday, May 20, 1997 (along with John Parrott on guitar, Jim Cox on bass, and Chuck Cushinery on violin), Don brought the house down. In the audience that magical night, Briggs was musing about ways to share such wonderful music with the public. That’s when Blue Night Records was conceived.
Blue Night Productions, Inc. came into being on March 24, 1998. Blue Night Records is a subsidiary of that corporation. Don’s “About Time,” was released on October 1, 1999 and we’ve been going strong ever since.