Letter from the Director

John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

I love the summer. I feel like my inner systems operate more supremely, humming at their proper frequency through the warmer months. It’s a gift that I appreciate more each year. But over these past 30 years, within Earshot (as it were), while my body is tuned to the sunshine and friendly air of July and August, my mind is most often working forward in October, collecting suggestions and organizing possibilities for the annual Earshot Jazz Festival. Luckily, September, though always arriving a little too early, provides a gracious doorway from one scene to the next, especially this year.

September is filled with jazz-friendly community events, and this issue has the scoop on many of them. The Jackson Street Jazz Walk is alive and thriving, thanks in large part to the force-of-nature jazz vocalist and community organizer, Eugenie Jones, who has stepped up to affirm the continuing celebration of jazz heritage in Seattle’s historically Black Central District and Jackson Street scene. The following weekend, Wa Na Wari’s brilliant Walk The Block initiative brings visitors and Central District residents together on the city sidewalks for a nourishing Saturday afternoon celebration with music and dance, food and drink, smiles and community.

Further celebrating jazz and community, we are especially delighted to have this year’s Festival Resident Artist, Alex Dugdale, featured on this month’s cover. The arc of Alex’s brilliant career is so rooted in Seattle’s jazz ecosystem that he virtually embodies what is absolutely right about our community. We so look forward to digging into his choices of creative expression in four (or more) separate concerts across this year’s festival schedule.

Under the bad news banner, we lament the recent announcement that Vito’s closure, due to water damage from an upper floor fire a few months ago, will likely be much longer than anticipated – and possibly permanent. Added to the recent closure of Calluna, the still-lamented Tula’s, and the planned future sale of North City Bistro, we find ourselves quite in need of a couple of new performance venues, committed to Seattle’s incredibly vibrant jazz scene.

Finally, in preparation for the coming festival, we have a delightfully diverse schedule of tune-up concert events this month. We’re super proud to present the newest version of the Blue Note Records supergroup, ARTEMIS, which is powered by some of the top established and emerging jazz artists working today. They recently slayed a run at the Birdland Jazz Club in New York City, have several East Coast festival dates, and will perform for us at Town Hall’s Great Hall before traveling to the Monterey Jazz Festival. The following week, the brilliant Israeli pianist Shai Maestro brings his new quartet to an Earshot concert at Town Hall Forum. And on October 2, two charming virtuosi, trumpeter Eric Vloeimans and accordionist Will Holshouser, will dazzle and delight audiences at The Royal Room.

We appreciate your participation in this incredible jazz community, at any level. We’ll see you out there!



Posted on

August 31, 2022