New Year’s Revolutions
Jazz has always flowed comfortably in the dynamic pocket between evolution and revolution; changing too fast for some, and too slowly for others. People will always love what they love—and that’s a good thing. Jazz is expansive enough to accommodate hardliners in any one of its many expressive styles, whether in swing, bebop, free jazz, fusion, smooth, big band, funk or electronic—deconstructed or reconstructed. But, whether through evolution or revolution, it has become unusual to hear someone staunchly maintain that jazz can only be one thing—and that’s a good thing, too.
The Earshot organization has a strong reputation of giving voice to the revolutionary masters of jazz, believing that the art form best moves forward by engaging its own perimeters. After all, Louis Armstrong didn’t like Charlie Parker; and Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, even John Coltrane, actually made jazz people angry in their time, by opening existing structures to express deeper truths.
One of Earshot’s first concert presentations, in 1986, was the pianist Cecil Taylor, an avant-gardist if ever there was one, and the organization has gone on to present many of the revolutionary thinkers of the music. But Earshot has also steadfastly honored jazz history and its ongoing evolution, especially by documenting and supporting the day-to-day, year-to-year building of Seattle’s incredible jazz scene.
I propose a New Year’s resolution as a solution to the revolution/evolution question. Let’s all resolve to get out to hear more live jazz in 2019. We can engage our own perimeters and get out to stretch our ears with live Seattle jazz in all its forms.
Please accept the best possible wishes, from all of us at Earshot Jazz, for a new year of good health, peace, prosperity, progress, compassion, and an open sense of unity that celebrates our individuality and creative spirits. Oh, and jazz! Lots of jazz.
–John Gilbreath, Executive Director