Fall in Seattle – must be Earshot Jazz Festival time!

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It’s fall in Seattle again – leaves are changing colors (that’s a picture of the Japanese maple in front of my house, taken with the iPhone), it’s raining most of the time, the days are short, and it’s almost time for the Earshot Jazz Festival.

John Gilbreath and his crew have put together another top-notch lineup, starting with the wonderful pianist Ahmad Jamal on October 19 at McCaw Hall. Jamal is an influential figure in jazz who’s been recording longer than I’ve been alive. Jamal is just the first of a whole bunch of terrific pianists this year, including local fave Bill Anschell, French master Jacky Terrasson, the great Cedar Walton (who played in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the early ’60s with Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard), and one of my recent favorites, Fred Hersch, who the Boston Globe called “a pristine pianist with a poet’s soul”.

There’s lots of other great stuff too – including the venerable Belgian harmonica player Toots Thielmans, vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, bringing her Red Earth ensemble of Malian musicians, the Zimbabwean guitarist and singer Oliver Mtukudzi, and lots more.

The only hard part is picking which shows to attend!

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