Eric Olson

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

Guitarist Mike Stern @Jazz Alley: Hitchin’ a Ride

One expects brilliance from any musician associated with Miles’s bands. What they don’t expect is a chance to drive said artist back to their hotel after the gig.

Eric Olson’s Top 23 Albums of 2023

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.

Review: Pat Metheny @Jazz Alley

Just as Jesus once left Chicago, the world’s greatest living guitarist left the Emerald City yesterday after an intimate eight-show residence at Jazz Alley. Classic rock heads and Rolling...

That Sixth Ave Jawn – Bassist Christian McBride @ Jazz Alley

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.

Day In Day Out: Frazzing the Crowd @Seattle Center

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.

“The Farewell Tour” — A Convincing Underdog Tale

Readers might not expect a Northwest novel from a book about a midcentury country singer, but The Farewell Tour is very much a story of Washington state, albeit hidden in a star-spangled package.

Review: Emmet Cohen at Jazz Alley

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).

Shape of Jazz Today: Keyon Harrold at Jazz Alley

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.

“The Ferryman:” A Dystopian Utopia

"The Ferryman" won’t overtake "The Passage" on my recommendation list, but it proves that Cronin hasn’t lost his step.

Making of a Politician: Millennial Girmay Zahilay on the Move

"If people are trying to make change, I would tell them, it's much more possible at the local level to create change than dealing with Congress, which has all these barriers."