251 Records is a jazz label trying not to be a jazz label all the time.
Let me explain.
When you say the word "jazz" to people who aren't aficionados, they mostly become distracted, like novices of any sort (I've noticed this when encountering friends who are wine mavens -- I start to fall asleep at the mention of aromas and bouquets, or more likely nod and smile and wave politely). Jazz has, in many cases, become museum music. Further, it's been defined to within an inch of its life. This has threatened to kill it, but jazz is stronger than that. It wants to stretch its boundaries -- that's what it's really all about.
Jazz, to me, is about the spirit of the music, not the style. It's not just piano, bass, and drums playing yet another arrangement of Stella By Starlight, or some chick singer overdoing Autumn Leaves. It's a way of approaching the music, a way that includes play and fun. It has life and vigor and pep and verve. It's based on blues and folk music, but it goes so far past those genres; it has inspired pop and r&b music, but in different ways and with different results. I find jazz all over the place -- the music of our first artist Ellen Winters, the pop sensibilities of Pat Metheny, the relaxed jamming of MMW, even the amalgam of stylistic possibilites of Sting, Imogen Heap, or John Mayer. Point being, jazz isn't just this one thing that some people would like to call it. It's a lot more.
Ultimately, 251 Records wants to provide an environment where creative work flourishes, no matter the style of music. As we like to say around here, it's not about the style, it's about the spirit.