Tuesday, December 1, 2015

52. Earshot Jazz Festival: Tomeka Reid, Nicole Mitchell and Mike Reed

Fifty two down. Three to go.

Earshot Jazz has a message for the Pacific Northwest: Jazz is not dead. It isn't even ailing. This year's Earshot Jazz Festival proved that once again, with more than 50 events in clubs and concert halls around Seattle. The number of events, however, is just part of the story. The size and and diversity of the audiences at the Festival demonstrate the strength of jazz in our community, along with the vibrancy and artistry of the players across a broad spectrum of ages, races and cultures.

We saw a jazz trio perform at the Good Shepard Center in Wallingford, one of 19 Festival venues. The musicians were cellist Topeka Reid, flutist Nicole Mitchell and drummer Mike Reed. From Chicago, the three are prominent jazz performers, composers and educators. They are also key figures in the Chicago jazz collective known as the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Their music was engaging and approachable and we particularly enjoyed Ms. Reid's beautiful jazz flute.

Earshot Jazz has been supporting and presenting jazz in our region since 1984. In addition to the annual Festival and many other presentations, Earshot provides jazz education and publishes a monthly jazz magazine. Although the Festival presents jazz artists from around the world, its strong Northwest roots are shown through performances by local groups such as the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, the Westerlies brass quartet and the Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra.

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