I shot this photo of Robert Knatt last year and it appeared on the cover of the first issue of Earshot Jazz magazine for 2009. It is Volume 25 Number 1. A pretty good milestone for any publication. Robert Knatt has an outstanding reputation as a jazz educator. Here are a couple of excerpts from the profile Molly Conant wrote for Earshot. Read the whole story at Earshot Jazz.org
September 3, 2008, marked the beginning of yet another school year at Washington Middle School, but in Room 8, this was also the start of a new era, for legendary teacher and jazz band director, Robert Knatt, retired last June after a 36-year career.
Bob Knatt is nationally recognized as the director of one of the country’s best middle school jazz programs. During his 18 years at Washington his ensembles have earned that reputation, claiming top honors at local, regional, and national
competitions. They have consistently dominated the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and Reno Jazz Festival. Appropriately,
Knatt ended his career on a high note, so to speak, as the Washington Jazz Band captured first place at the 2008 Reno Jazz Festival in April.
Knatt has, in his teaching career, had many honors bestowed upon him. For three years in a row, 1994-1996, he was named “Outstanding Music Educator” by the Metro Region of the Washington Music Educators’ Association. In 2000, he became the first recipient of Earshot’s Jazz Award for jazz educators, and in 2004, Earshot honored him again, presenting him with a Golden Ear Award for his “dedication to excellence in jazz education.” The following year, he was inducted into the Seattle Hall of Jazz Fame, and in 2007, he was the first middle school band director ever given an Achievement Award for Jazz Education from Down Beat.
“I think he was the first person to really show me that the only thing keeping any of us from accomplishing what we are really capable of accomplishing is ourselves. We all make excuses for ourselves. Bob calls us out on that…always.”
– Darin Faul
“There were so many students so excited about playing and listening to jazz, that it was infectious, and before long it had become my primary focus.”
Photograph by photojournalist Daniel Sheehan specializing in portrait photography for publications and corporations and a photographer in Seattle with an unobtrusive, story-telling approach creating award winning wedding photography.