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LISTEN: Local jazz musicians, venues resilient one year into COVID-19

Kate Olson at Seattle Art Museum, Tim Kennedy in background
Lisa Hagen Glynn Photography
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Kate Olson and Tim Kennedy, in background, performing at Seattle Art Museum in January 2019.

After being hit hard by the pandemic, local jazz musicians like saxophonist Kate Olson hope the public will again support live music as venues reopen.

"I hope that the appreciation for music and for live music and for the people that make live music happen is just something that continues to grow and grow," Olson said. 

Now that the state is in Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s revised reopening plan, more businesses are allowed to increase their indoor capacity, including live music venues. Many of them have been shuttered for more than a year.

Olson says she can’t wait to get back on stage.

"I miss playing with a 13-piece funk band at a tiny little club like the Parliament Tavern," Olson said. "That is something that if somebody told me it was safe to do tomorrow I would be like, 'Let's do it. I don't even care if there's an audience, let's do it.' But I think it's going to take a long time to get us back there."

Those mixed feelings are being echoed by other local artists. A recent survey from the arts advocacy group ArtsFund included responses from 77 arts and culture organizations in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. While 22 percent had reopened, only 7 percent felt they could resume in-person programming in the spring or summer. The survey was conducted between January and March of this year.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick spoke with New Cool host and jazz ambassador Abe Beeson about the local jazz scene one year into the pandemic. Listen to their conversation above.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Rebekah Way is an on-call news host at KNKX. She began her career in public radio as a news intern at KNKX, where she's also worked as an interim producer and reporter. Rebekah holds a life-long passion for music and also works as a professional musician and educator in the Seattle area.
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