Our Mission: To ensure the legacy and progression of the art form, Earshot Jazz cultivates a vibrant jazz community by engaging audiences, celebrating artists, and supporting arts education.
Earshot Jazz was formed in 1984 to cultivate a support system for jazz in the community and to increase awareness of jazz. For over 30 years, the organization has served the jazz artists, audiences, students, and industry of this region.
Earshot presents nearly 100 concerts each year, including our spring series, the annual Earshot Jazz Festival, and the beloved holiday tradition of Duke Ellington's Sacred Music co-presented with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. After weathering the in-person concert restrictions during the COVID-19 health crisis in 2020 and early 2021, we're now offering both in-person and livestream concerts. Our successful 2021 Festival which ran from October 13 through November 7, was a truly hybrid festival, offering flexibility and accessibility with most of the 30 events presented as both in-person and livestream. For the health and safety of audiences, artists, staff, and volunteers, at all in-person events, Earshot Jazz is following local health ordinances requiring attendees to provide proof of full vaccination.
2022 brings the promise of more in-person concerts with both resident as well as national and international artists. We have a series of in-person spring concerts which are featured in the "Events" tab above. This year's festival will run from October 9 till November 6. Planning for the festival includes Charles Lloyd Oceans Trio (with Gerald Clayton and Anthony Wilson), Kurt Rosenwinkel Quartet, Battle Trance, Naomi Moon Siegel, Myra Melford, Logan Richardson bluesPEOPLE, Gnawa master Majid Bekkas, Marquis Hill, and many more.
Other important programs include our magazine. An important milestone in 2021 was the launch of the Earshot Jazz Magazine Archive in collaboration with Seattle Public Library on July 1, enabling public, digital access to the 37 year Earshot Jazz Magazine legacy, and access to all new magazine editions. On an ongoing basis we distribute over 5,000 free copies of our monthly "Earshot Jazz" magazine around our community.
We're also proud to collaborate with local schools on presenting masterclasses with visiting artists and providing student with professional performance opportunities. In fall 2021, for the first time since the pandemic, the Roosevelt High School Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Scott Brown, performed with our Festival Resident Artist Marina Albero. The event was produced as a pre-recorded concert, broadcast as a livestream during the festival.
Earshot hosts the annual "Golden Ear" Seattle Jazz Awards to honor the significant achievements of area artists. In the past two years, due to social distancing requirements, we held the Golden Ear Awards ceremony virtually. In 2022 we returned to an in-person format and it was a resounding success. We gathered around 100 jazz musicians, and community members under one roof at The Royal Room, and enjoyed music from local band D'Vonne Lewis Limited Edition, honored awardees for their contributions, and finally appreciated local talent with a jazz jam. Feedback from attendees was heartfelt.
We'd be remiss if we didn't highlight two of our other vital, annual programs. Jazz: The Second Century Series brings the progression of jazz into creative motion and is a current and un-sentimental look at our city’s engagement with this diffuse, vibrant art form. Seattle artists, selected by a peer panel, perform original work. Rounding out the year, we present the Concert of Duke Ellington's Sacred Music. Now in it's 34th year, Earshot Jazz is proud to present Ellington's wonderful "Sacred Music,"—both serious and swinging—written late in his career, for jazz big band, vocal and instrumental soloists, gospel choir, and tap dancers. Look out for this concert in late December.
"Earshot Serves as Platform for Thriving Seattle Scene" - DownBeat magazine, 2019
"Despite its international reputation, Earshot has remained a true community organization." - NEA Arts magazine, 2015
Banner image of Theo Croker by Lisa Hagen Glynn, from the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival.