Gerald Clayton photo by Daniel Sheehan.

32nd Annual Earshot Jazz Festival
Streaming October 16—November 8, 2020

Mark your calendars for an all-digital festival!

The Earshot Jazz Festival returns this year in an all-digital format! Now in its 32nd year, the 2020 festival will be streamed straight to you, with a mix of online concert performances, panel discussions, and an emphasis on racial, social, and gender justice. Jazz teaches us to listen, learn, and improvise. With our typical programming model upended, we’re taking this opportunity to re-envision what a creative, community-focused jazz festival can look like.


Programming across four weekends, the festival opens with an Earshot exclusive performance by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane streaming directly from the fabled Birdland Jazz Club in New York City.

The brilliant pianist Gerald Clayton brings an exclusive concert in a duo setting with his father, the revered bassist, educator, and advocate John Clayton.

Demonstrating its abiding commitment to Seattle’s resident artists, Earshot’s featured Festival Resident Artist for this year is Seattle’s own Ahamefule J. Oluo. The multi-talented Oluo is a trumpeter, composer, comedian, actor, and writer whose works for the stage includes musical jazz memoirs Now I’m Fine, and Susan; and for the screen, a newly released feature film Thin Skin. Oluo’s festival projects include the premier of a new jazz quartet, exclusive video of the large ensemble from Susan, collaborative community events, and a virtual-reality house party video: with Nigerian food, real people, and live music in the livin room by the hard-jazz quartet, Industrial Revelation, which he co-founded.

Expect one-of-a-kind performances from pianists Marina Albero, Fred Hersch, Jovino Santos Neto, violinist Ben Hunter, guitarist Bill Frisell, saxophonists Lakecia Benjamin and Amy Denio, and vocalist Johnaye Kendrick. Artist and production crew safety is a top priority. Performances will be streamed from artist homes, or from venues following strict safety measures in compliance with local health mandates. Full line-up and tickets coming soon.


2020 offers a unique opportunity to examine the structures in place within our jazz community—from education spaces, to jam session culture, to the performance stage, and beyond— through thoughtful community dialogue. Earshot invites community members to submit panel proposals for consideration. Topics presented through the lens of racial, social, and gender justice are particularly encouraged. Full details and submission form at bit.ly/EJFCommunityPanel.

We’re excited to continue our collaboration with Northwest Film Forum with multiple film screening opportunities, all available for streaming from the comfort of your home. Stay tuned for more details.


What shapes does jazz take in the year 2020? We’re adapting our annual juried series—Jazz: The Second Century—from a live concert setting to a pre-recorded audio or video presentation to be included for the first time during the festival. Artists are invited to use the tools and technology available to them to create a response to what jazz is right now. Selected submissions will be showcased as a watch party during the 2020 festival.


Make a Donation

Your gift of any amount will make an immediate impact as we work to shift our programming and create an engaging festival for our community. Thank you for supporting Earshot Jazz!

Become a Sponsor

An all-digital festival brings new engagement opportunities! Sponsorships are available for individuals, businesses, and community organizations starting at $250. Email karen@earshot.org to learn more.