Black History is Always Now

John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

John Gilbreath photo by Bill Uznay

Our work in advancing jazz in Seattle is grounded in the truth that jazz is a cultural treasure of Black America. Beyond that, it’s not difficult to affirm that Black America itself is a cultural treasure. America would not be what it is without Black culture: Black music and art, Black spirituality, Black passion and compassion, Black family and Black fire. And jazz. 

Jazz was probably not born in a big bang 100 years ago. It evolved, we might say, as the creative expression of human experience through the collisions and collaborations of Black culture with European, Indigenous, and other sensibilities. And jazz continues to evolve, hopefully advancing the message of its original spirit, through a multiplicity of expressions around the world. 

Seattle seems to reflect the dynamics of jazz history every day. Rooted in the city’s historically Black Central District and Jackson Street scenes, jazz is thoroughly woven into the cultural fabric here and is being taught, practiced, played, and valued in a myriad of ways around the city. 

Within Earshot, we’re grateful to be part of this jazz community, and we work to reflect the abundance of creative approaches around us. This issue welcomes new faces to the community, highlights the work of our resident artists, and informs the jazz fan of opportunities to tap into the world of live jazz in venues around the city. 

Earshot also brings a fascinating diversity of visiting artists to Seattle stages this month. Our upcoming concerts celebrate a breadth of jazz culture; from the raucous improvisations of Sex Mob to the relevant elegance of Norway’s Tord Gustavsen Trio, and on to the expansive genius of NEA Jazz Master Maria Schneider, conducting her entire, Grammy-winning New York orchestra in a rare concert at Town Hall. 

This issue also includes your ballot to vote for your favorite Seattle artist in the annual Golden Ear and Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame Awards. Let’s get interactive! Please join us in recognizing the great work of Seattle-area artists over the past year. Help us call out these artists to history right now, and mark your calendars to join us at The Royal Room on March 13 for the annual awards party. 

Special thanks to all of you who made donations to our recent fall campaign. Thanks, too, to everyone who brings their generous spirit to live music venues, supporting the work of individual artists in this community. And a very special thanks to the hard-working music educators who give so much of themselves to assure that jazz history lives on. 



Posted on

February 1, 2023