The three-week festival takes place in clubs throughout the city. It is presented by the 20-year-old non-profit organization Earshot Jazz, which also runs an education program, publishes a magazine, and produces concerts throughout the year.
Highlights of the festival include appearances by pianist Brad Mehldau, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, pianist Randy Weston, alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, drummer T.S. Monk, and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim. Trumpeter Steven Bernstein brings his Sex Mob; clarinetist Don Byron leads a trio with Jason Moran and Billy Hart.
On November 4, National Endowment for the Arts chairman Dana Gioia appears at the festival to announce the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship awards. In addition, two of the 2004 winners perform as part of the NEA Jazz Masters on Tour initiative: guitarist Jim Hall, who appears with his trio on November 5, and saxophonist Benny Golson, who plays with the Seattle Jazz Repertory Orchestra on November 7.