Letter from the Director


One Foot in the Future

The latest edition of the Earshot Jazz Festival is right around a couple of corners and it promises to be another thriller. Building on a well-deserved reputation for capturing the progression of the artform at home and around the world, this year’s festival will engage Seattle artists and audiences with a month of one-of-a-kind concert experiences in venues all around the city. 

We are excited to present main stage concerts by many of the world’s, and Seattle’s, most important artists—including DownBeat magazine’s “Artist of the year,” Cécile McLorin Salvant; Cuba’s legendary, and incendiary, ambassador, Chucho Valdés; and the reclusive Brazilian genius, Egberto Gismonti—all in the recently unveiled splendor of the newly renovated Town Hall Seattle. 

We’ll also hold court in The Forum, Town Hall’s downstairs concert room, with a number of top-flight artists, including a “Tune up” concert by Brian Blade’s newest ensemble, Life Cycles, trumpeter Bria Skonberg’s quartet, Orrin Evans’ trio with Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Jenny Scheinman and Allison Miller’s Parlour Games, which also includes one of Seattle’s favorite daughters, pianist Carmen Staaf. 

We’re proud to be returning to Langston with a series of concerts that starts with bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma in a stellar trio that includes alto-sax legend Gary Bartz. Langston will also host Knife Knights, the new hip-hop project of Ishmael Butler, Otis Calvin III, and Erik Blood; a trio of Bennie Maupin, Eric Revis, and Nasheet Waits; and evenings rooted in the jazz legacy of Seattle’s Central District that include saxophonist Gary Hammon’s newest work, In Case You Didn’t Know; and the Folks ensemble of D’Vonne Lewis, Darrius Willrich, and Evan Flory-Barnes. 

There will be artists from Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Korea, Japan, The Ukraine, Belgium, Norway, North Africa, Israel, and Yemen. We’ll also begin a new initiative of Seattle Jazz showcases, for which we’ll invite and engage directors and talent buyers from regional performing arts presenters from Bellingham to Olympia, along with the general public, to promote Seattle artists. 

The whole list is, of course, long and distinguished. A complete schedule will be unveiled soon. You’ll see drummer Terri Lyne Carrington in the new Kris Davis trio; the “young genius” vibes master Joel Ross; drummer Kassa Overall in duo with pianist Sullivan Fortner; the Gerald Clayton Quartet with returning heroes The Westerlies; a special focus on Jay Thomas and his Japanese friends; and many, many more. 

We’ll see you out there soon!

–John Gilbreath, Executive Director


Posted on

July 26, 2019