In order to sustain its broad view of jazz and other improvised music, Earshot double- and triple-books most nights, forcing some tough choices. The World Saxophone Quartet, whom I will always love for their tour de force deconstruction of Duke on Plays Duke Ellington (Nonesuch), pay a rowdy tribute to the music of jazz-rock progenitor Jimi Hendrix (Fri Oct 21, Triple Door, 7 and 9:30 pm). The same night, serpentine electric guitarist Marc Ribot (Fri Oct 21, ConWorks, 8 pm) renders a solo homage to free-jazz sorcerer Albert Ayler.
Saturday offers no easier choice with a "Legends of Seattle Jazz" shindig (Sat Oct 22, Triple Door, 7:30 pm) scheduled opposite another Seattle legend, a trio led by avant bassist Michael Bisio (Sat Oct 22, ConWorks, 8 pm), who gave a fine farewell performance with Joe McPhee a few months ago at the Tractor. The "Legends" concert features singer Ernestine Anderson–one of the few places to see her outside of Jazz Alley's New Year's Eve celebration—and trumpeter/singer/saxophonist Floyd Standifer, whose recent Scotch and Soda (Pony Boy Records) serves up suave cocktail bop.
Earshot continues to showcase new and ambitious jazz compositions. Drummer Greg Williamson follows in the footsteps of Wayne Horvitz's Joe Hill with Jazz Traditions: Conversations and Deconstructions (Sun Oct 23, ConWorks, 8 pm), which interweaves a 14-piece jazz orchestra with prerecorded conversations of local jazz greats.
Finally, don't miss the Robert Glasper Trio (Mon–Wed Oct 24–26, Tula's, 8:30 pm) who, at last year's festival and on his new disc Canvas (Blue Note), plays virtuosic piano jazz that blends the rhythmic friskiness of hiphop with a lyrical Keith Jarrett–ish vibe. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI
The Earshot Jazz Festival runs through Sun Nov 6. Visit www.earshot.org or call 547-9787 for additional information.