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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.

We’re Golden

As you can see by the collage of screen grabs on this month’s cover, the recent Golden Ear Awards party from the Royal Room (and people’s living room) was a great success. The collage also illustrates the circumstances of this past year: that many individual artists, living and creating on their own, make up one of the most vibrant jazz communities in the country.

The Earshot Jazz organization is dedicated to supporting, enriching, and documenting Seattle’s incredible jazz scene. For 30 years, the annual awards ceremony has provided a setting to pause and celebrate the work of Seattle artists. Over and above the individual categories and recipients, the event signifies to the greater Seattle cultural community that something very special exists here, and that the artists who live and work among us deserve recognition.

The first Golden Ear and Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame Awards party took place in 1990, warming the stage at Lofurno’s, the cherished and well-patinaed Italian restaurant and jazz club at the south end of Ballard Bridge. Originally conceived by Earshot Jazz cofounder Gary Bannister, the awards program has endured as an important annual event to honor the significant work done by Seattle’s established and emerging artists. 

Those original Hall of Fame recipients were Floyd Standifer, Al Hood, Chuck Metcalf, and Ernestine Anderson. Over the years, the Hall of Fame has grown to include Seattle legends Buddy Catlett, Don Lanphere, Bud Young, Melody Jones, Jabo Ward, Hadley Caliman, Vonne Griffin, Lola Pedrini, Overton Berry, Julian Priester, Gaye Anderson, and so many others who, collectively, have built the structure of Seattle’s jazz legacy. We’re privileged to help that structure grow through the arc of our own history, understanding that any of today’s artists can be the legends of tomorrow. 

Moreover, Seattle’s jazz scene is a shining example of the excellence and multiplicity of approaches that make this such an exciting time for jazz around the world. The Earshot Jazz organization has always embraced an expansive view of the art form, with an enduring commitment to our home community. Earshot’s 36-year presenting history is full of names of the adventurous seekers who have helped to pave the way for the richness of today’s scene, much as the artists we’ll present in the coming months are blazing a trail to the future.

We invite you to join us. Support your local artists. Even in a world segmented by circumstances, jazz is alive and thriving here in Seattle. 

See you out there.

JOHN GILBREATH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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April 1, 2021

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