John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster


John Gilbreath by Bill Uznay

Much of the work we do here at Earshot Jazz is based on overlapping cycles of time, like a long song form. The annual Earshot Jazz Festival picks up momentum in early spring in order to peak successfully each fall, while this Earshot Jazz magazine is in almost constant creation to hit the streets and mailboxes by the first of each month. Added to these revolutions are grant deadlines, fundraising drives, board meetings, and programming initiatives. Sometimes, we need to back way up to see the bigger picture of our evolution.

The annual Golden Ear Awards never fail to strike that deeper chord for me, revealing the larger wheel of time in this jazz community. By celebrating the brilliant work of Seattle artists each year, the awards program reflects the changing face and sound of this rich jazz ecosystem over the years. As the music continues to grow, and the faces and personal stories reveal new truths and messages, the annual awards process can remind us that we’re all part of a larger narrative. It’s a story that shapes and shares the culture of our city.

The remarkable stream of new artists on the local scene balances the sad departures of those who have built its vibrancy. In this issue, we remember two distinctive saxophonists who embodied the wide breadth of jazz expression. Bill Ramsay, the hard-charging bebopper and studio musician; and Wally Shoup, the conceptual artist and champion of the avant-garde. We also recently said goodbye to Lionel Kramer, who was dedicated to presenting the artists of this area and ran the Eastside Jazz Showcase for years alongside his wife Cooksie.

At the same time, we joyfully inducted two artists into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame who have revitalized presenting opportunities for Seattle artists. Vocalist Eugenie Jones honors the legacy of jazz in the historically Black Central District with the Jackson Street Jazz Walk, while the accomplished trumpeter Thomas Marriott brings live jazz back to Pioneer Square each weekend with the Seattle Jazz Fellowship.

Speaking of cycles, the annual GiveBIG campaign is right around the corner. Coming up May 7 & 8, GiveBIG also kicks off our own spring fundraising campaign. The Earshot organization is in its 40th year now, celebrating the heritage of Seattle jazz alongside the dynamic progression of the art form into the future. A wheel within a wheel. Please join us in taking in support of jazz in Seattle. Consider the way jazz contributes to your own quality of life and enriches the larger cultural makeup of the city we live in.

Make a donation to Earshot Jazz today!

Thank you!!



Posted on

March 26, 2024