Jazz Masters, All

John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

John Gilbreath by Bill Uznay

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) presented the 2024 Jazz Masters ceremony recently at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Receiving “the highest honor that our nation bestows on jazz artists” this year’s masters were pianist, Amina Claudine Myers, saxophonist Gary Bartz, and trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard; with Willard Jenkins receiving the A.B. Spellman Award for jazz advocacy. The production was hip, and musical performances were remarkably satisfying, especially with Seattle’s Kassa Overall on drums with the Gary Bartz quartet. (The 2024 NEA Jazz Masters video is available on demand on YouTube.) 

Each of this year’s Jazz Masters has graced Earshot Jazz stages over the years, as have 60 of the 150 other individual artists the NEA has recognized with this national award since its inception. We’re proud to have offered a stage to these artists, but we realize that the access to the bandstand is one piece of the larger picture. Each of these esteemed artists had to begin somewhere. The enduring curiosity and commitment of each artist needs a community that includes instruction, mentorship, encouragement, and performance opportunities. It’s not difficult to see future jazz masters in the band rooms of Seattle’s schools and community centers and at the jam sessions in local clubs. Our joyful work is to nurture that environment where ever possible here in Seattle. 

It’s also important to bear in mind that any awards event, whether the NEA Jazz Masters, the Grammys, or the Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Awards, by honoring a selection from the broader field, is undoubtedly indebted to all of the other artists in that field, many of whom may be equally masterful, and all of whom deserve recognition for their work every day. 

With this issue, we’re happy to introduce you to trumpeter Carter Eng, one of the brightest new lights on Seattle’s jazz scene. We also tune into the new recording, Circular Motion, by pianist Francesco Crosara, a master instrumentalist within our community. And, of course, we provide you with a calendar of jazz events around the region, along with our encouragement to get out to enjoy and support live jazz in our community. 

This month also kicks off the GiveBIG initiative for our community. As a hard-working non-profit organization, we ask for your financial support through a tax-deductible donation to Earshot Jazz. Please make a gift today. And, join us in solidarity of all the artists and arts-support initiatives that make this city so great. 

Thank you!!

—John Gilbreath, Executive Director



Posted on

April 23, 2024