Letter From The Director

John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

Jazz Age, 2.0

In the 100 years since 1920’s America ushered in what grew to be called “The Jazz Age,” both the country and the music have grown, and remained the same, in unimaginable ways. Through the years, jazz has become a global language while remaining a solid signifier of America’s deep hu­manity and unstoppable creative spirit. As Duke Ellington said: “Put it this way: Jazz is a good barometer of freedom… In its beginnings, the Unit­ed States of America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which, eventually, jazz was evolved, and the music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of com­plete freedom yet produced in this country.”

Yes, actual “freedom and independence” may still feel like elusive ideals on day-to-day social and economic levels, but if the incredibly good health of jazz is still a reliable barometer for human potential, then we have good cause for optimism. There is no better place to catch a Doppler overview of today’s jazz forecast than in New York City, especially in the January deluge of showcases, meetings, and concerts as part of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and Chamber Music America (CMA) conferences in mid-Town Manhattan; the Jazz Congress at Jazz at Lincoln Center; and the NYC Winter JazzFest, which puts up close to 200 perfor­mances across the East and West Village and Brooklyn. All of this within a two-week period. And, of course, Seattle jazz is brilliantly represented in that larger context by performing artists, fans, and industry professionals.

The Earshot Jazz organization is proud to serve as a broad platform for Seattle’s well-respected jazz community. Reflecting the vibrancy of the art form locally and nationally, Earshot is coming into 2020 having just completed the best year in our 35-year history. We are so grateful to our national funders, and to everyone in this community of artists, educators, fans and supporters. Thank you for your incredible support!

This issue carries many opportunities for you to join us. In addition to news, previews, profiles, and promotion of jazz events going on around the city this month, we invite you to cast your thoughtful ballot for this year’s Golden Ear and Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame Awards. And please plan to join us at the awards party at the Royal Room on March 9, with Jim Wilke as Master of the Ceremonies, and world class music by Marina Albero.

So, dig in and enjoy this issue. As always, you can find additional and updated information online at earshot.org. All of it is made possible by your individual donations.

Thank you!

–John Gilbreath, Executive Director


Posted on

January 22, 2020