Earshot Jazz is the premier organization of its kind in Seattle and one of the leading examples in the country. Its founder, John Gilbreath, was kind enough to invite me to take part in this year’s Earshot Jazz Festival, which began on Oct. 7 and runs through Nov. 4.
Back in 2010, when I was sniffing around Seattle for an Arts & Leisure piece about the city’s healthy jazz scene, John was an essential resource. Some of my reporting from that trip found its way into Playing Changes, in a chapter on the rise and influence of formalized jazz education.
It’s only fitting, then, that the first of my Seattle book events will be presented by Cornish College of the Arts, under its Pivot Convocation Series. In a city that boasts several integral jazz institutions — from the public high schools to the University of Washington to the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra — there’s a special distinction held by Cornish. The faculty, chaired by composer James Falzone, is first-rate, and its history goes back to some formative work by John Cage.
It’s also fitting that the event be a conversation with Maria Schneider, one of the most inventive, precise and justly heralded composer-arrangers of our time. In addition to leading her orchestra, a large ensemble that has no equal in the realm of dynamic flux or timbral color, Maria has been an outspoken voice on the subject of musicians’ rights as creators in the Big Data age. I’ve always known her to be as astute and penetrating in conversation as she is with her writing, and I have no doubt we’ll get to some good places here.
The event is free and open to the public. Please come through!