Earshot Jazz Festival launches this weekend

Oct 5, 2023, 1:46 PM | Updated: Oct 6, 2023, 12:12 pm

Johnaye Kendrick...

Johnaye Kendrick (Photo: Artist Trust)

(Photo: Artist Trust)

It’s known in many circles as the most important jazz event of the year in Western Washington.

The Earshot Jazz Festival gets underway this weekend in Seattle and continues into November. There are over 250 jazz artists who come to perform across the city and educate to keep the legacy of jazz alive.

This year’s featured resident artist is Johnaye Kendrick, who will unveil new music with female supergroup säje. Also included in this year’s festival is the world premiere of three new festival concerts from Jahnvi Madan, Carlos Snaider, and Sheridan Riley.

Special projects include workshops, a battle of the bands between Roosevelt and Garfield High School, and a night of dancing with the swing, jump-blues, and rock ‘n’ roll revival band Birch Pereira & Delta Jump.

The annual event runs 33 days and includes a wide variety of venues and ticket prices. The festival showcases the history, sound, culture, and legacy of the jazz community.

The festival started in 1989. Executive director John Gilbreath started as a volunteer for the second Earshot Jazz Festival in 1990 and fell in love with the organization to the point he decided to become a volunteer coordinator for the next festival and then, in 1992, became the executive director.

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Earshot Jazz was founded in 1984 by jazz writer Paul de Barros, concert producer Gary Bannister and pianist Allen Youngblood.

The organization publishes a free monthly magazine for the Seattle area and hosts numerous jazz-related events annually.

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Earshot Jazz Festival launches this weekend