John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

John Gilbreath photo by Bill Uznay.

Jazz Appreciation Month is the main jam for this April edition of Earshot. As an initiative of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, nationally, and UNESCO’s jambassador, Herbie Hancock, internationally, JAM aims to raise awareness and participation in jazz as America’s indigenous art form. For a comprehensive list of ideas and activities in celebration of this foundational art form, check the Smithsonian Jazz website at americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz.

But jazz appreciation is business-as-usual all year, every year, within Earshot, and we’re grateful to be part of this community. On March 14, we celebrated hard at the Royal Room with a gorgeous night of music, community, and mutual appreciation. The annual Golden Ear and Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame Awards were bookended by two sets of jaw-dropping music; the first by D’Vonne Lewis’ Limited Edition band, awesome at full strength; and, the second by Thomas Marriott’s weekly jam session, which was bolstered by the accumulated fire power of a room full of the city’s top jazz musicians. The collective list of this year’s nominees and winners (see cover photo), paints a picture of an incredibly vibrant jazz community, embellished by a diversity of brilliant jazz artists. And we appreciate all of them.

April is also National Poetry Month. The relationship between jazz and poetry is long, deep, and ongoing. Jazz poetry has always been a voice of racial consciousness, holding and rejoicing in Black heritage and creative expression. We’re grateful to Monique Franklin for sharing her work in this month’s issue. 

With this issue, we also remember the brilliant pianist Jessica Williams, who passed away on March 12. Jessica was one of the rare artists who seemed to make a personal connection with each individual listener through her music. We were privileged to present Jessica several times under the Earshot Jazz banner, and to come to know her as a formidable artist and individual. Hers was a searching, creative soul. May she rest in peace. 

We invite you to actively celebrate this Jazz Appreciation Month as it fits your means. Support live music venues, individual artists, schools, and organizations. And join us on Sunday, April 24, 2-4pm at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, for an Afternoon of Community and Jazz. Let’s talk about jazz and help guide the Earshot organization as it moves forward in service to the legacy and progression of Seattle’s jazz community. 

Thank you so much! Keep tuned into earshot.org for news on our spring fundraising drive and upcoming events. Keep jammin’!



Posted on

March 23, 2022