Letter from the Director


Welcome to Earshot Jazz Festival #30!

Welcome!! We are delighted to welcome you to our most expansive and exciting festival ever. Throughout this month we’ll present over 60 events in venues all around the city, celebrating the beating heart and deep cultural expression of jazz. We’ve got marquees of masters, galaxies of rising stars, and a rising tide of women instrumentalists, in an abundance of expressions.

The Earshot Jazz Festival has a strong legacy as one of the most forward-thinking and inclusive festivals in the country. In 30 years as Seattle’s Jazz Festival, we’ve showcased an incredible number of essential artists from around the world, while organically reflecting the passions of our own home community. It’s our goal to bring today’s evolving art form of jazz into creative collaboration with the exciting cultural dynamics of this ever-changing city— and it’s a good fit.

The history and innovative trajectory of Seattle is a great match for an adventurous jazz festival like Earshot. And just as the city of Seattle is remarkably different than it was 30 years ago, so are the face and sound of jazz. This is an incredible period for jazz. In shaking off some of the polarizing and restrictive labels over the years, the new mainstream of jazz has grown into a creative wave that carries the traditional and the innovative, the old and the new, the masters and the mentees, together in the same great surge. And as always, much of what is absolutely right about jazz today is brilliantly embodied in Seattle’s own resident artists, many of whom will appear on this festival.

We can’t wait to focus this year’s “Resident Resident Artist” spotlight on Jovino Santos Neto. Jovino will grace festival stages in a variety of contexts, from a two-piano duo to a full-on big band. He’ll also work with the Roosevelt High School band program, and appear as a special guest in their mainstage concert. A solid renaissance man, Jovino also has interests and accomplishments in plant biology, especially as it relates to music. Check the additional events listing for an opportunity to hear him speak on that subject, in a forest near you.

This festival also thrives on creative collaborations with other cultural institutions. This year we are pleased to kick off a new series within the festival called Jazz at Langston. We’ll feature 10 concerts in the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, working gratefully with the new LANGSTON non-profit toward their clear mission, “Celebrating Black Brilliance.” We’re pleased to continue collaborations with Cornish College of the Arts and the University of Washington Jazz Studies Department, and with community partners like The Royal Room, Seattle Art Museum, the Triple Door, KNKX, and many others. It takes an entire city!

We’re super excited to unleash this beautiful monster onto Seattle’s cultural landscape. There is so much great music out there! We’re glad you’re on board, and we hope the spirit of discovery finds you eager to “boldly go” to new regions of this ever-expanding universe of jazz.

And please consider a gift to Earshot Jazz as part of our Access Inspiration campaign this fall. Your donations help us keep ticket prices low, offer low- and no-cost student tickets, and bring incredible artists into creative engagement with the community through workshops and panels.

Keep in touch and give us your feedback. Have fun and enjoy! Jazz lives right here!

—John Gilbreath, Executive Director


Posted on

October 1, 2018