Eric Olson is a Seattle-based novelist and essayist living in the Central District. He works as an environmental engineer, managing polluted sites west of the Cascades, and also plays guitar in local outfit Caveman Ego. You can learn more about him and his work at ericolsonwriting.com.
Lists like this one are built on a rickety foundation of caveats and qualifications, the most important being that musical taste is a curious impulse. Unlike film, unlike novels, it’s almost impossible to diagnose our musical ideals.
McBride named this quartet New Jawn, “jawn” being a Philly term used as a placeholder for something above or maybe below immediate naming. Curious about its grammatical use? The Internet Provides. “Pass me that jawn.” “This jawn is packed.” In Hawaii they have a similar term, “Dakine.” Perhaps we need a Seattle variation.
The Seattle Center finally feels more new than old, and Day In Day Out, the incipient musical festival now in its third year of operation, feels newer than most anything this side of the EMP, or whatever they’re calling Paul Allen’s dusty guitar collection these days.
Cohen, 33, is making waves these days as a busybody among musical busybodies. Whether operating as a bandleader, as part of his Master’s Legacy Series – recording alongside legends like Jimmy Cobb and Ron Carter – or as a sideman for Veronica Swift and Herlin Riley, the New Jersey native continues to scale all manner of jazz ladders, taking third place in DownBeat’s most recent Pianist Poll (behind Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau, not bad company).
When Ornette Coleman released The Shape of Jazz to Come in 1959, the genre marched off into overblown atonality. Were a similarly titled record to drop today, it’d sound an awful lot like Keyon Harrold.