It’s been a great Earshot festival

Today’s the last day of this year’s Earshot Jazz Festival, and it’s been a great one!

Last night Michele and I ended our festival attendance hearing the fabulous Gangbe Brass Band – ten strong, from Benin, playing brass and percussion, sounding like a cross between a New Orleans brass band and all the best African grooves – I kept trying to count some of the rhythms and then just gave up and felt the pulse.

Earlier in the festival we heard the World Saxophone Quartet (plus friends) do their tribute to Jimi Hendrix – contrary to Paul DeBarros’ review in the Seattle Times, I thought the Quartet sounded in some of the finest form I’ve ever heard them, and the accompaniment was wonderful, particularly the virtuoso electric bass from Matthew Garrison.

We heard Dafnis Prieto, a young Cuban drummer, and his quartet playing really fiery Latin jazz, and Olu Dara did a show that was a tour de force demonstration of just how deep the rootsy combination of blues, funk, and West African rhythms can go.

The festival did have a couple of disappointments for me – Omar Sosa and his quartet didn’t live up to the billing, and Joey DeFrancesco, while certainly competent and entertaining, just didn’t grab me as much as I expected.

The Triple Door was a great venue for the festival – good sound, good sight lines, and great food from Wild Ginger upstairs.

Thanks to John Gilbreath and the whole Earshot crew for a fantastic festival – and here’s looking to next year!


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