Letter From The Director

John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

John Gilbreath photo by Bill Uznay.


Happy Holidays! We wish you all good health, love, and success as we move through the holiday season and into the new, and better, year ahead. 

The holiday period feels like a solid, familiar marker in a rhythm of life that, lately, has been anything but solid and familiar. In some ways the past two years have felt like four years; like life in 4/2 time. On the other hand, at times it feels as if life has been suspended on pause for the past two years—as if someone could hit the button and we would just pick up where we left off. 

Like you, the Earshot Jazz organization has been moving forward with a bit more caution and a lot more intention, adjusting as we go. With that intention comes a deeper awareness and gratitude for the blessings that we have and the community of individuals with whom we’re engaged in supporting jazz in Seattle. 

In this environment, the death of an artist like James Knapp is especially sad. In many ways, Jim Knapp embodied all that is right about Seattle jazz. As a dedicated educator and mentor, he directly influenced hundreds of artists, young and old. As a composer and band leader, he showed a way forward with the music that valued jazz tradition without being bound by it; bringing wry humor and enormous heart into his incredible body of work. He was one of the pillars of present-day Seattle jazz.

We’re grateful for each artist in this community. That Seattle is regarded as such fertile ground for jazz progression is a sign, not of some grand movement, but of the individual artists, educators, students, parents, audience members, business owners, and organizers who work every day to share their passion. 

We are fortunate to be engaged with this community of individuals. This year’s Earshot Jazz Festival was a successful community event on many levels. Seattle artists stepped up with world-class creations night after night. And the tangible connection between artists and audiences, many of whom were attending their first live performance in months, was enormously rewarding for all. 

Special thanks and praise are due to Festival Resident Artist Marina Albero for an incredible series of events. Marina’s genius seems barely contained in average times, but the creative enthusiasm she brought to her festival residency was absolutely stunning.  

Thanks, too, to our presenting partners at LANGSTON Seattle, The Chapel Performance Space, The Royal Room, Egan’s Ballard Jam House, and Town Hall Seattle. Thanks to our sponsors, donors, vendors and volunteers, and especially to our ticket-buying audience. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the music and your patience with us in navigating the technical challenges of livestreaming multiple events, from multiple venues, over multiple days. 

We hope to see you on December 26 for the annual tradition of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music Concert. Check these pages for information on other upcoming events. Meanwhile, stay safe and be well. Happy Holidays!!

–John Gilbreath, Executive Director


Posted on

December 2, 2021