Letter from the Director

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Coming down the home stretch of this year’s Earshot Jazz Festival, as we are at the time of this writing, we are excited by the incredible vibrancy in today’s jazz and humbled by the depth of this community’s support for it.

Thanks to you, jazz is definitely alive and thriving; as much here in Seattle as it is around the world. This year’s festival will have included more than 50 separate events on stages around the city, with each night as rewarding as it was distinctive.

As most of you know, whether you attended a few concerts or many, the level of surprise and satisfaction was high throughout the series. This festival was successful on many levels, but taken as a whole, the creative juice we’ve seen at work in the art form right now is absolutely stunning. It is your support which makes this festival possible.

We are pleased to feature programs this year supporting Seattle jazz education programs at Washington Middle School, and Garfield and Roosevelt High Schools, as well as Stuart MacDonald’s post-grad, Trace Generations project.

Affirming the value of those programs, this year’s festival has welcomed returning heroes like Carmen Staaf, The Westerlies, Briggan Krauss, Aaron Parks, and Kassa Overall back from New York; and featured mainstage performances by distinguished Seattle alum including D’Vonne Lewis, Evan Flory-Barnes, Natalie Barry, Thomas Marriott, and many others.

It has been a treat to welcome back internationally respected creative masters like Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Bennie Maupin, Marilyn Crispell, Chucho Valdés, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Egberto Gismonti; to showcase emerging stars like Bria Skonberg, Tyshawn Sorey, Cécile McLorin Salvant(!), Joel Ross, Kris Davis, Sasha Berliner, and so many others; and to celebrate local heroes like Jay Thomas, Gary Hammon, Wally Shoup, Clarence Acox, and Wayne Horvitz.

And what a treat to host saxophonist Darius Jones, whose 4-day residency ranged from free-improvised mastery, to modern classical composition, and on to a night of avant hip-hop.

Thank you all so very much. And thanks to Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and Vashon Arts Center for extending the reach of this year’s festival. And to Daniel Sheehan, whose brilliant photo documentation of Seattle Jazz was on view at BIMA, and can be seen online at danielsheehan.com. Thanks to Earshot staff; Tara, Lucienne, Errin, Halynn, and, most of all our esteemed managing director Karen Caropepe; and thanks to the many volunteers, funders, venues, community partners, media outlets, and concert goers who make this festival possible.
You did this! Thank you!

John Gilbreath, Executive Director


Posted on

November 1, 2019