Jazz Is…

We want to hear from you.

Fill out the form below, e-mail jazz@earshot.org, or share, tweet, or post what “Jazz is” to you, and make sure to tag us: @EarshotJazz #JazzIs


Jazz is the shape of the spaces in between the notes. Jazz is movement through those spaces. Jazz is the shape of the spaces between you and me; between you and the hardscape of the world. Jazz is all the spaces of the world singing to each other. And it’s the silence in between even that.
~Krys Holmes, Executive Director, Myrna Loy Center, Helena, MT

Jazz is a source for the soul.
~Sharlese Metcalf, Audioasis Host, KEXP, Seattle

Jazz is a rich and multi-faceted expression of a culture, whose roots are in the African American experience.
~Nasheet Waits, Drummer, NYC

Jazz is the magical sound created when musicians are listening to each other and creating a conversation everybody wants to hear…over and over again.
~Janis Lane-Ewart, Jazz consultant, Minneapolis/Chicago

Jazz is the audible history (and future) of America.
~Michael Brockman, Co-director, SRJO/ Educator, UW/ Saxophonist, Seattle

Jazz is Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. Coffee, poetry, scrambled eggs and grits. Jazz is biscuits and homemade sorghum. Jazz is a cool evening and sunglasses, smoke-filled rooms filling with tunes that are the soundtrack of my existence.
Jazz is what makes life makes sense.
~Vivian Phillips, Chair, Seattle Arts Commission/ Director of Marketing & Communications, STG, Seattle

Jazz is an historic part of the art form of Music. Its evolution since its inception in the 1920s has led us to think about the relevance of the word “jazz” in 2016, and beyond. One might consider moving forth and seeing the larger picture of music and leaving the word “jazz” behind to further said art form.
~Scott Amendola, Drummer, Bay Area

Jazz is the epitome of creativity.
It is a living, breathing conversation.
~Carolena Matus, Vocalist/ Instructor, Seattle

Jazz is hearing a lot of “no” but an occasional “yes.”
~Matt Merewitz, Publicist, Fully Altered Media, NYC

Jazz is…I really haven’t a clue. I’ve been listening to music most all my life. Any time I try to put “jazz” in a bucket it refuses to stay there. It just spills out all over the place. Please give me an answer, so I don’t have to keep mopping the stuff up.
~Dave Emerson, Jazz lover, Seattle

Jazz is a path to self-discovery.
~Ben Wendel, Saxophonist, NYC

Jazz is a worthy endeavor.
~Bill Frisell, Guitarist, World citizen

Jazz is the sound that truth makes when played on the strings of the heart.
~Barbara Earl Thomas, Artist/ Founding Director, NAAM, Seattle

Jazz is a great word for the juiciest free-est, most individualistic and community-engaging music that’s come out of the American experiment, against many odds, but irrepressibly. It sounds like itself, jumping forth and zigzagging, spicy, highly energized. Yes, jazz has sexual connotations and speaks of disorientation – all for the better, I say. Jazz is rhythm, song, harmony and purpose. I love the stuff! Give me jazz! And I’ll make my own.
~Howard Mandel, Jazz writer, NYC

Jazz is never the same.
~Bryan Lineberry, Saxophonist, Seattle

Eubie Blake said jazz was derogatory and dirty. Nicholas Payton says it’s #BAM. Joey Alexander says it’s freedom. I suppose it’s a bit of all those things, but for me, it represents the most creative, emotional, interesting and impactful music I’ve ever heard, and I love it.
~Danny Melnick, Absolutely Live Entertainment, NYC

Jazz is Black American Music. Jazz is freedom of expression and community. Jazz is creative improvisation and individual authenticity. Jazz is about the blues aesthetic. Jazz is global. Jazz cannot be put in a box and is not defined by Lincoln Center or Wynton Marsalis. Jazz is women and all genders and sexualities. Jazz is people. Jazz is always evolving.
~Naomi Siegel, Trombonist, Seattle