Live and streaming, Earshot Jazz is primed for a 3-week festival
Jazz fans rejoice: Seattle's big annual event kicks off tonight. The Earshot Jazz Festival features three weeks of live performances at venues around the city. Most of them are live-streamed as well. Seattle Times and Downbeat Magazine jazz writer Paul de Barros gave KUOW’s Kim Malcolm a preview and his top picks for the festival.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
This concert features three brilliant, mid-career players: Chucho Valdés, the great Cuban pianist; Joe Lovano, the greatest tenor saxophone player out there; Dianne Reeves, the wonderful vocalist. They'll perform a kind of mix and match program of duets, and I hope, a finale as a trio. That show will be live only.
It's really cool this year that the artist in residence is Marina Albero. She’s a vibraphone and piano player, and a composer. She's in four different concerts. One of the things I'm really looking forward to, she’s got a book of big band arrangements. She's going to do them with the Roosevelt High School jazz band. That show will be streamed only.
I think 85 percent of the bands in this festival are led by either women or people of color. That’s pretty important in these times of the #MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter. My pick, in that respect, is the trio led by William Parker, a bass player with this big, thick, beefy sound. He used to play with the great Cecil Taylor. He's going to be in a trio with his wife, Patricia Nicholson, who heads up the Vision Festival in New York. Patricia is a spoken word artist, a poet and a dancer. I think if you go to that show, you won't be disappointed. It's certainly going to hit all the issues that are plaguing this country right now, but in in a way that's ultimately positive.
Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.