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Earshot Jazz Festival Is Stacked with Talent This Year

The annual month of jazz brings in local and national luminaries.

By Stefan Milne October 8, 2019

Sasha Berliner plays at the Royal Room on October 27. 

On Saturday night, Marina Albero, a Seattle musician, took the stage in Town Hall for the Seattle Jazz Showcase, tossed off her red shawl, and laid into a dulcimer performance as good as any I’ve heard (okay, I have not heard that many). From two hammers and an array of strings she coaxed a little symphony of jazz, classical, and flamenco—the genres twining together in ecstatic runs. That is to say, the Earshot Jazz Festival kicked off again this weekend and is a fine reminder that there’s a lot of talent in this city outside of our garage bands and amazing symphony.  

Earshot runs through November 6, when pianist Chick Corea plays Rhapsody in Blue with Seattle Symphony at Benaroya. Leading up to that, over 50 events at venues across town encompass nearly every facet of modern jazz. You get major national talent: Julian Lage brings his fluent yet discursive guitar work to Columba City Theater on October 12. Cécile McLorin Salvant, one of the more lauded singers of her generation, comes to Town Hall on October 18.

But just as interesting are some of the local shows: Knife Knights (the hip-hop duo composed of Erik Blood and Shabazz Palace’s Ishmael Butler) share a bill with Stas THEE Boss and saxophonist Darius Jones on October 16. Former Seattleite Kassa Overall—who’s been blending rap and jazz into a dizzying concoction—plays with pianist Sullivan Fortner on October 27 at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

For a complete list of events and tickets, see the schedule here.

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