Letter from the Director


New Jazz/New City

When Earshot Jazz co-founder Gary Bannister coined the title “New Jazz/New City” back in 1986, he was working specifically on Earshot’s initial foray into concert producing; a series featuring original music to be performed on the stage of the New City Theater on Capitol Hill.

But, given the prolific expansion of both jazz and the city of Seattle over the past 33 years, the title was sufficiently prophetic to apply even today, especially to an expansive jazz festival like the one we’re cooking up for you now for the growing megalopolis of this great city (see page 6).

To a great extent, jazz is always new. And clearly, this city is in an unparalleled period of expansion. Growing pains aside, it is not difficult for us to envision a dynamic new city that, like jazz, honors its heritage, celebrates its diversity, and thrives on innovation as expressed by the human spirit. We believe that the growing population of bright young hearts and minds holds great promise for Seattle’s unique cultural identity, and we program our festival accordingly.

We are excited to introduce a new jazz festival into this evolutionary flow. With a ton of tradition, a focus on invention and inclusion, a healthy dose of New York and Philly, an open door to international expression, and a massive connection to our home community, this year’s festival builds on our common legacy as a jazz city.

Jay Thomas knows about Seattle tradition and international expression. As this year’s featured resident artist, Jay shares his experience and considerable chops with several jazz education programs, and introduces us to more blazing jazz talent from Japan, where he has been a long-time jambassador of Seattle jazz. We thank Paul de Barros for this month’s cover feature (see page 8), and invite you to join Paul and Jay as they swap stories on stage before Jay’s East West Alliance concert on October 23.

Though the festival officially starts in early October, we’re proud and excited to present the west-coast premier of Brian Blade & Life Cycles, the new and expanded ensemble honoring the jazz vibes legend, Bobby Hutcherson. Brian’s connection to Seattle seems to get sweeter and deeper with each appearance here. We hope you’ll join us on September 27 at Town Hall as we tune up for this year’s festival (see page 13).

The entire upcoming festival schedule is available in print and online, and tickets are on sale for all of the events now at earshot.org. Mark your calendars and clear your schedule; the Earshot Jazz Festival is right around the corner, and it’s packed with brilliant experiences.

As always, we thank all of our members and donors for support that makes the deep connections of this festival possible. Join us! See you soon!

John Gilbreath, Executive Director


Posted on

August 30, 2019