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John Gilbreath: Within Earshot

Lloyd N. Peterson Jr. By

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And there are times when presenting European Improvisers that I look out in the audience of only 30 or 40 people, and the artists have traveled half way around the globe, and I think, "Why do we do this? What is the value of it? Where is the sign that the value is right? What is the indication that we are doing the right thing?" And it's certainly not because the numbers add up because the numbers don't add up. Everybody in the food chain is losing money. And to add insult to injury, the work visa process is so cumbersome, so hurtful and so expensive that it's even more of a challenge for artists to come and work here. And if they try to come here as tourists, they can get blacklisted for 10 years.

But I still think we all need to travel more and get out and see the rest of the world and be aware of two things. How we are perceived from the outside world and how our perception of the outside world is different than the reality of what's happening in other places globally. It can help us learn and bring different qualities into our own lives.

And it's funny, this word, "Earshot" which I did not come up with but it's an interesting metaphor for me and my experience with music. I'm not making the music but I'm within Earshot of it. So we're putting it on the stage and we are helping facilitate as best we can to nurture it for the future of the art form. It's a really great thing.

Seattle's 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival will take place between October 15th and November 7th, 2010.

Photo Credit: Daniel Sheehan

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