I feel like I write the same post every year, but John Gilbreath and his merry band at Earshot have put together another outstanding lineup for the annual Earshot Jazz Festival – from what I’ve seen this is consistently the best jazz festival in North America.
Some highlights this year include:
Allen Toussaint playing a solo show at the Triple Door on 23 October. I’ve seen Allen Toussaint solo once before, playing a benefit concert for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in DC, and it was sensational. This guy’s done it all, from writing Ernie K Doe’s 1961 smash Mother-in-Law and Lee Dorsey’s Working In A Coal Mine, producing the original Meters recordings, through scoring the horns for the Band’s Rock of Ages and his own finely crafted albums. If you only go to one live music event this year in Seattle, this would be my pick.
Other picks include: Fathead Newman, who played all those sax solos on the classic Ray Charles recordings, playing with the Garfield High School jazz band on October 22; Guitar great Larry Coryell (who’s playing wonderfully these days) with an all-star Seattle quartet on October 25; my friend Bill Anschell celebrating his new CD release at Tula’s on October 27; Mavis Staples singing a tribute to gospel great Mahalia Jackson at Meany Hall on the same night; legendary Japanese bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi playing a solo piano show at the Asian Art Museum on the very same night (what an embarrassment of riches!); the fabulous vibes player Bobby Hutcherson on October 28; for those into more outside jazz Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio with Billy Bang on violin on Oct 29; new-ish Seattle quartet Big Neighborhood (which has my bass teacher Doug Miller on board) at Tulas on Oct 29; a tribute to longtime UW music prof Stuart Dempster at Town Hall on Oct 29, featuring Pauline Oliveros; my UW colleague and old college classmate Marc Seales along with another college chum Rich Cole on sax at Tula’s on Nov 5; and the amazing Jason Moran with his equally impressive trio at the Triple Door on the same night.
I could go on, but there’s no point in me replaying the whole schedule – go check it out yourself!