John Gilbreath photo by Bill Uznay.
The title of Inspiration Information is taken from the Shuggie Otis classic to help us celebrate the landmark launching of the digital archives of 37 years of Earshot Jazz magazines. Taken as a whole, this treasure trove of information constitutes a living history of Seattle’s rich and varied jazz history. Through our partnership with The Seattle Public Library this resource is now available to everyone. It is completely accessible online, is easily searchable or browsable, includes almost a gazillion indexed references, and just as many fascinating photographs. We invite you to dive in whenever you can.
Inspiration Information also describes the potential that this archive offers students, educators, and fans of all ages. It brings to life the stories and accomplishments of more than two generations of this incredible scene, as captured and conveyed by Seattle-area writers and photographers. It also offers younger musicians a connection to the tangible thread that runs through the continuum to their elders and can inspire and inform their own journey.
This project has been a heavy lift by all involved. We are so grateful to everyone who worked on it and to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for so intentionally supporting the financial aspects of the work. The archive is truly incredible and we are eager to see it continue to build every month.
The very survival of this monthly publication for more than three decades is remarkable. We’re grateful to our community, who so enthusiastically advocated for the magazine in recent focus groups and who supported it through financial donations and memberships. As the pandemic lifts, we’ve redoubled our commitment to Earshot Jazz as a printed publication and resolved to expand its distribution around the city, free of charge. Also, anyone who makes a financial contribution to the organization, no matter the amount, can now receive a copy of the magazine through the mail.
The coincidence of celebrating the archives of this magazine in the same issue that carries a review of Jay Thomas’ new book is not lost on me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Jay’s book and I see it as a parallel view of this scene, through the eyes and mind of one of it’s true heroes.
These opportunities to step back and take the long view on our own histories can affirm our participation in one of the great, unfolding jazz stories in America, and in doing so, inspire us all to work to make it even better.
We’re grateful for your support and we encourage generosity toward all of the things that nourish our spirit.
–John Gilbreath, Executive Director