Letter from the Director


Jazz is _________


Jazz is… so many things, to so many people, that it all has to be right. This month, we’re kicking off a new campaign to affirm the breadth of creative expansion that the word JAZZ conjures. And we want to hear your solo.

We’ll be collecting words through this summer from people just like you, through sources ranging from institutions of higher education to street-graffiti posts, and from jazz fans to jazz haters. We’ll publish responses in upcoming issues of Earshot Jazz magazine, and we’ll collect and share the dialogue on earshot.org, social media, and other, more low-tech media. Give us your name, or not, but we will give away some festival tickets later this summer based on random excellence. Jazz is YOU.

On International Jazz Day, President Barack Obama said, “Jazz is fearless and true….It is the ultimate in rugged individualism, and the truest expression of community.” He also quoted Duke Ellington, who referred to jazz as the best “barometer of freedom.”

Henri Matisse said, “Jazz is rhythm and meaning.” Louis Armstrong allegedly said, “If you have to ask, you’ll never know.”

What do you think? Anything is fair game. Initially, for instance, I thought, Jazz is Monk (or Miles or Mingus) or Jazz is Swing (or Changes or Blue). Jazz is Seattle (or Jackson Street or Bud’s) but the more I considered, the more open it became. Jazz is Hard, Jazz is Motion, Jazz is Black, Jazz is Freedom Now, Jazz is Revelation, Jazz is Origin – Jazz is Old School, New School, Out of School, No Fool; In Your Face, Of Your Race, Space and Time, Out of Line, Oh So Fine. You’ve got it already.

In this issue, you’ll see some initial thoughts on Jazz is_____, with serious thanks to Beth Rocha and Josh Sin, for ideas and art. You’ll also see that Jazz is Summer Festivals, Jazz is Bad Luck, Jazz is Jazz Records, and Jazz is All Around the Sound.

Give us what comes to you. Right now. Shoot an e-mail to jazz@earshot.org.

Jazz is NOW!

– John Gilbreath, Executive Director


Posted on

May 23, 2016

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