John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

John Gilbreath photo by Bill Uznay

Well, it is summertime, though the living ain’t exactly easy. Still, the eagerly anticipated season gives us an opportunity to ease a bit of the burden, shed some of the rain gear, and get our hands into the earth to tend to the garden. I’ve always been interested in the relationship between culture and the act of cultivation; and the thought that the cultural richness that nourishes us is a result of that which we choose to cultivate around us, actively enriching the space that we grown in. This also implies a personal commitment to the larger ecosystem of our community garden and the forest of humankind.

Jazz music and culture is unique in its roots and potential. Born in the fertile collision of African, Indigenous, and European sensibilities, jazz seems to organically carry the American potential as it continues to propagate and grow around the world. 

Here at Earshot, we’re working through these summer months tending to the upcoming Earshot Jazz Festival—with an eye, as always, on the enrichment of our community and the advancement of the art form. The 34th festival edition includes Jazz Masters, Mentors, and Monsters from around the world, and from Seattle’s own fertile scene. We can’t wait to share it with you. 

The festival kicks off on October 9, in the Great Hall of Town Hall Seattle, with a tribute concert to the beloved pianist Overton Berry, whose long career among the roots of Seattle has helped to nurture the growth of many young artists, including that of the evening’s special guest, vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur. That concert will feature a host of Seattle artists, as well as and according to Overton’s wishes, the Garfield High School Jazz Band, which will receive a portion of the evening’s income. We wind things up at that same venue on November 6 with NEA Jazz Master Charles Lloyd, the giant old-growth sequoia of jazz. Charles Lloyd’s Ocean Trio includes the brilliant pianist Gerald Clayton and guitarist Anthony Wilson, both of whom grew in the rich environment provided by their famous fathers; bassist/educator John Clayton and big-band leader Gerald Wilson. 

Also appearing at Town Hall Great Hall will be reed virtuoso, Anat Cohen with her Brazilian Quartetinho. Los Angeles’s incredible Louis Cole Big Band take the stage on October 22. We’re especially excited to present the great Count Basie Orchestra in the Great Hall on October 14! With Seattle’s award-winning jazz education programs being so firmly rooted in the music of Basie and Ellington, we feel overdue in presenting the long-running Basie Band. That concert will also feature the award-winning Roosevelt Jazz Band, honoring their long-time and recently retired band director, Scott Brown. 

This year’s Festival Resident Artist, the irrepressible Alex Dugdale, will provide several surprises, including newly commissioned work. Earshot has commissioned two other Seattle artists, Xavier Lecouturier and Kelsey Mines to present new work this year. 

We’d like to thank all of the donors who fueled the recent GiveBIG and spring fundraising drives. Your support helps to strengthen our work in service to the jazz artists, audiences, educators, and professionals in the Seattle area.




Posted on

July 5, 2022