Letter from the Director

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Letter from the Director

Jazz—The One and the Many

Seattle jazz legend Floyd Standifer used to say that “jazz is in America’s DNA.” As a core component of Seattle’s fabled jazz roots, Floyd so thoroughly embodied the essence of jazz culture and, in doing so, he also helped to assure that Seattle remains a serious part of the jazz family. Being in New York City this last month, the undisputed center of the jazz universe, clarified that jazz is in fact dominant in America’s DNA, and even a quick look through the artists on that scene demonstrates that Seattle definitely has a place at the table.

With the massive NYC Winter Jazzfest presenting hundreds of artists in multiple venues around The Village over two weeks, the annual Jazz Congress at Lincoln Center convening two days of insightful panels and events, and the huge APAP performing arts conference—all in addition to the already bustling NYC jazz scene—January has become a time for the serious jazz lovers to curse the cold and catch up with the international jazz flow.

It was fantastic to see so many Seattle artists on the scene in New York, and to see them so thoroughly woven through the growing world of jazz. Check Halynn Blanchard’s post in this issue for more details (see page 10). Halynn was out making actual sense of the morning sessions, while also representing Earshot in the music communities until the wee hours. Meanwhile, I hosted one of the festival stages through the marathon, as I have for most of WJF’s run, getting another chance to go deep into the tradition and progression of today’s jazz.

Looking at the jazz artists and the audiences in New York, it is not difficult for me to see Earshot’s presenting activity “relative” to the New York scene. Our own growing community, though not as large, looks much the same as New York’s, and our active artistic vision honors the tradition while reflecting the ever-evolving face and sound of jazz.

Please take note that our upcoming list of events includes the annual Golden Ear and Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame Awards. We hope you’ll give some thought to the ballot, step out for a little research, cast your vote, and join us in celebration of Seattle jazz on March 11.

Forget 23 And Me, you’re already part of the tree. Join us in support of Seattle jazz.

–John Gilbreath, Executive Director