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Letter From The Director

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John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

John Gilbreath photo by Bill Uznay.

Paying for Change

At this writing, the 2020 Earshot Jazz Festival is solidly underway, and, while we’re concen­trating on the quality of our pivot to stream­ing concerts online, the sound and spirit of the music is stronger and more satisfying than ever. Each day’s festival events have testified to the overall importance of the arts in daily life, and the essential role that artists play as “in­struments” of creative spirit, guides to deeper beauty, and stewards of cultural treasures.

It’s been especially gratifying this year to fo­cus on Ahamefule J. Oluo as our featured resi­dent artists. Aham first came to the Earshot Jazz festivals in the late 1990’s as an eager student volunteer, whose abun­dance of initiative and proximity to festival artists drew him into personal conversations with jazz legends that would inspire his own artistic path. It has been gratifying for us to witness his evolution as a truly distinctive artist.

The Earshot Jazz organization has been supporting the growing leg­acy of Seattle’s jazz community for over 35 years; one relationship at a time. Whether documenting the scene with the Earshot Jazz magazine, assisting individual artists with career advancement, promoting the art form through creative collaborations, supporting jazz education programs, or presenting one-of-a-kind concert experiences like those in this year’s festival, Earshot is in it for the long haul. We appreciate your support in making that possible.

But, while Jazz is stronger than ever, the good health of American soci­ety is less evident. Divisiveness and conflict have become the order of the day, even around fundamental truths such as human equality and public health. The every-day challenges that we all face are exacerbated by politics and big biz that seem to thrive on disinformation, disrespect, and discon­nection. It’s “divide and conquer,” without the conquer part. And our im­posed isolation just makes it more acute.

We join you all in the struggle for positive change. But, even if we achieve needed changes in the political landscape, the deep scars of division be­tween people are not likely to begin healing overnight. I believe we can make the changes, but we’ll have to get it together. There is no “us and them.” There’s only us. And if we are each one of the 8 billion intercon­nected cells that comprise the whole organism of humankind, why would we even consider turning away from love?

Stay strong. Stay healthy. Stay inspired.

—John Gilbreath, Executive Director

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Posted on

November 1, 2020

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