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The Jazz Continuum

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John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

John Gilbreath photo by Bill Uznay

The good news about our work in this community is how it’s always connected to the larger continuum of jazz music and culture here. As part of Seattle’s remarkable, self-renewing jazz ecosystem, we take pride in the many successes around us, and it brings us joy to co-exist in an environment of mutual support with this vibrant scene. 

This very full issue of Earshot Jazz carries just part of that good news. You can always tap into the broader chronicle of Seattle’s jazz legacy by accessing the 37-year archive of this publication, hosted by The Seattle Public Library and accessible, free of charge through earshot.org.

This month’s issue profiles one of the brightest burning lights on the local scene; drummer, composer, and activist Xavier Lecouturier. We also hear from our friend, Paul r. Harding, in praise of one of Seattle’s unsung jazz masters, pianist John Hansen. And we catch up with one of Seattle’s oldest music rooms, the Columbia City Theater, recently given new life by community activist, Tony Benton, and Rainier Avenue Radio. Keep reading these pages for our call-to-artists to participate in the far-reaching series, Jazz: The Second Century, which will unveil some of Seattle’s freshest musical thinking in concerts at our annual fall festival.

Upcoming Earshot concerts are set to survey the larger continuum through June. Please join us June 7 for the sublime trio, Steel House, with Venezuelan pianist Edward Simon, alongside the beloved rhythm team of Scott Colley on bass and Brian Blade on drums. We also catch up with the French and American trio of Richard Bonnet, in an early concert on June 25 at the Royal Room. On June 30, we’re pleased to welcome back the “young genius,” vibist, Joel Ross, now recording on Blue Note Records and coming to us after playing Canadian jazz festival dates. 

Speaking of the continuum, we’re proud to congratulate Roosevelt, Bothell, and Mount Si high schools, the three Seattle-area schools selected for this year’s Essentially Ellington competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) in New York. While none of these bands took home the top hardware, many of the soloists and sections were recognized as tops, including (and no surprise here) Roosevelt’s bassist, Grace Kaste, who is already playing professional gigs on the Seattle scene. 

Seattle being, once again, the only metropolitan area to qualify three bands for the 15 possible slots nationwide is a testament to the health and excellence of jazz sensibilities here. JALC Director, Wynton Marsalis, places the jazz education process into a larger context: “What I love the most about Essentially Ellington is seeing the bands sit and listen to their colleagues, and experience a depth of feeling about the music that’s genuine. We need these young musicians because we need change; and the humanity, understanding, and depth in musicianship that they bring.” Amen.

Thank you again and again for your support.

JOHN GILBREATH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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May 27, 2022

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