Earshot Jazz Festival: Seattle’s Most Anticipated Jazz Event

The beloved festival is back to rock the socks off Seattleite jazz enthusiasts.

Featuring more than 50 distinctive concert events in some of the best-known venues in town and a line-up that is sure to please everyone in some way, shape or form — the 2011 Earshot Jazz Festival is back and better than ever. Created in 1984, Earshot Jazz is a local non-profit organization that has supported jazz in the Seattle community for the last 27 years.

This year’s festival kicks off on Friday, Oct. 14 with performances by the Roosevelt and Montlake High School Jazz Bands, and will feature more than 50 shows before Bill Anschell Trio’s closing set on Sunday, Nov. 6. We’ve chosen a few specific shows to give you a better idea of the entire festival schedule. Tickets for all individual concerts are available, as well as a special pass for Earshot members ($300) and non-members ($350) that will grant access to every festival event.

BRAD MEHLDAU | Friday, Oct. 21 | 8 p.m.

Edgy, adventurous, and truly gifted as an artist and performer, pianist Brad Mehldau has been playing around the world either solo and as part of a trio since the mid-90’s. He has collaborated with a number of jazz legends, including Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Charlie Haden and Lee Konitz.

Mehldau’s live performances are riveting, personal and sophisticated, but his versatility and adaptability as a recording artist have opened up opportunities as well. He appeared as a guest on Willie Nelson’s “Teatro” and Joe Henry’s “Scar,” and his music has appeared in movies such as “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Million Dollar Hotel.” (Tickets here)

Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall | 200 University St., Seattle

THE BAD PLUS | Saturday, Oct. 29 | 8 p.m.

This nationally acclaimed trio is here to take all your previous conventions about jazz and throw them out the window. These avant-garde kings of the new instrumental music movement are not afraid to remix, rework, and reinvent the traditional sounds of jazz. With a wide range of musical influences incorporated into each other of their projects—from rock to techno to swing—their diverse sound has set them apart and allowed them to grow and evolve without restriction.

The trio, bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King originally met as teenagers playing in local bands in Minnesota in the late 1980’s. They eventually went their separate ways, but reunited in 2000 for a brief gig together and the rest is history. Since then, the group has produced one great album after the next. (Tickets here)

Town Hall Seattle | 1119 8th Ave., Seattle

KEITH JARRETT, GARY PEACOCK AND JACK DEJOHNETTE | Tuesday, Nov. 1 | 8 p.m.

Some might say three’s a crowd. When it comes to jazz, however, three is more of a magical number. For Keith Jarrett (piano), Gary Peacock (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums), the combination is truly winning, and the trio has spent many years making sure that is the case.

The threesome first united in 1977, when they recorded six compositions together on “Tales of Another.” After a brief hiatus, they reconvened in 1983 to record “Standards Vol. 1-2”  and “Changes,” and have since recorded 20 more albums together.  Individually, they are all incredible musicians and together they put on a mesmerizing show that blends all of their talents effortlessly and fluidly. (Tickets here)

Benaroya Hall S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium | 200 University St., Seattle