Regarding an article posted on a UK Blog – THERE ARE NO GOOD JAZZ GIGS, I would like to address some of the comments in this article:
1. The huge increase in the number of jazz festivals over the last decade as proof that it’s not nearly as bad as some people would have you believe. D C Dowell of www.apassion4jazz.net says that the number of jazz festivals has increased tenfold over the last decade and www.jazzfests.net has over 1,000 jazz festivals listed for Europe alone. MOST OF THESE SO-CALLED JAZZ FESTIVALS USE THE WORD “JAZZ” TO KEEP THE COST OF INSURANCE LOW. THEN, THEY BOOK ARTISTS THAT ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING JAZZ ARTISTS – THEY ARE R&B, ROCK, REGGAE ARTISTS – BUT THE WORD JAZZ IS USED TO ATTRACT A MATURE AUDIENCE. IF THEY SAID IT IS A R&B OR ROCK FEST, THE INSURANCE WOULD BE SKY HIGH.
2. Much of the jazz musician’s malaise probably stems from his own experiences – playing an endless round of background music gigs where he is largely ignored or at conservative venues where he feels obliged to play standards in a mainstream style. These gigs often form the majority of his performing life and venues that actively promote jazz seem to be depressingly few in number. THE MAJOR PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY AND IN EUROPE IS THAT JAZZ IS A “HE/HIS” GENRE – A GOOD OLE BOY CLUB. WOMEN PAY 53% OF THE TAXES ON THE PLANET BUT WOMEN’S MUSIC REAPS ONLY 1-5% OF THE $27.5 BILLION IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND FROM PUBLIC FUNDING. THIS IS A HUGE IMBALANCE. I SEE GREAT OPPORTUNITY IN THIS AS THE FOUNDER OF A NON-PROFIT THAT PROMOTES WOMEN MUSICIAN’S – www.wijsf.org
3. Going to jam sessions is the only ‘self-promotion’ that they do. They’re clinging to a hopelessly old-fashioned paradigm of the music business and are doomed to failure and frustration if they refuse to change. THE JAM SESSION IS WHAT HAS KILLED NOT ONLY THE JAZZ SCENE BUT THE MUSIC SCENE. OPEN MICS WITH HIP HOP AND RAP ARTISTS HAS MADE IT SO THAT ENTERTAINERS (I DO NOT CONSIDER HIP HOPPERS AND RAPPERS MUSICIANS) PERFORM FOR FREE. CLUB OWNERS HAVE GOTTEN USED TO THE PARADIGM THAT THEY DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR ENTERTAINMENT BECAUSE OF THE DESPERATION AND EGO OF THESE AMATEURS WANTING TO GET UP ON A STAGE TO DISPLAY THEIR SO-CALLED TALENT, LEAVING PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED MUSICIANS OUT IN THE COLD. ORIGINALLY, JAM SESSIONS TOOK PLACE IN THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING, AT ONE OR TWO CLUBS, AFTER THE MUSICIANS GOT OFF FROM WORK. TODAY, THE JAM SESSION IS THE GIG, WITH THE BASSIST AND DRUMMER GETTING PAID (MAYBE) AND OTHER MUSICIANS AND VOCALISTS COMING UP ON STAGE TO DO A SONG OR TWO. IT’S PUT MOST MUSICIANS IN THE POVERTY CLASS.
This is so true. Why not have Hollywood donate some money to some Native Americans, who can produce some films about how they triumphed as well.
The whole scene in this country is detrimental to the health of all of us. Mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Stop your frikken movies.
15 years in the making, MUSICWOMAN MAGAZINE is the brainchild of composer and vocalist Joan Cartwright, founder of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. and host of MUSICWOMAN RADIO, in the 7th year of featuring women who compose and perform their own music and men who support them.
Ms. Cartwright is an author of 10 books, produces concerts and events, researches and documents women in jazz and blues, and in music, in general. She is a noted composer, having two CDs of her own and three compilation CDs with 27 women composers, released in 2011, 2012, and 2013.The articles in this publication will reflect the lives, work, and passion of women like Ms. Cartwright, who claim music as their profession. Authors, journalists, photographers, musicians, critics, and fans are encouraged to submit articles to the Editor.Also, we encourage any and all advertisers to see our RATE SHEET and inquire about advertisement in MUSICWOMAN MAGAZINE.
The account below about the origin of Memorial Day serves to support my contention that these books should be required reading in High School because they tell the truth about how Africans in America survived the horrors of slavery through music and how their music has been copied and commercialized by white producers and all but ignored by black people.
One of the things that most black people know is that the public school system does a horrible job teaching black history. They will gladly tell you all the wonderful things that white people did and maybe even go back to Europe, but the contributions of African Americans are kept entirely on the back burner. [Source]
A fact that you should probably know is that African Americans are the reason that Memorial Day even exists in the first place. According to Professor David Blight of Yale University, the event began on May 1, 1865. A group of former slaves in Charleston, SC gave a proper burial to 257 Union soldiers who’d been put into a mass grave.
The black community of Charleston then consecrated the new cemetery with “an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people.” The event was initially called “Decoration Day” and was led by 3,000 black school children who started off by singing the song “John Brown’s Body.” They were then followed by hundreds of black women with baskets of flowers and crosses. After that, black men marched behind them in cadence, followed by Union infantry.
The Union soldiers lived in horrible conditions, and 257 of them died from exposure and disease. This was the reason for the creation of the mass grave site. A total of 28 black men went to the site an re-buried the men properly, largely as a “thank you” for helping fight for their freedom.
They also built a fence around the cemetery, and on the outside, put the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
Dr. Boyce Watkins, who created an online course based on a forum held with Minister Louis Farrakhan last month, says that this is simply the tip of the iceberg. He says that misinformation is one of the most storied weapons used to perpetuate the oppression of black people.
“Black people must, as part of our healing, go back and rewrite history to ensure that we learn the truth,” said Dr. Watkins. “You’ve been lied to for your entire life, so it is up to all of us to use the Internet as a critical resource in helping us to learn who we truly are. We are great people and America would not be the country that it is today without our sacrifice.”
Now you know the rest of the story. Go tell this one to everyone you know and consider acquiring and reading the books posted above.
Since May 14, I have been on a leave of absence from my coursework and from most other activities, although I’ve had some loose ends to tie up. An invitation to attend the WIMUST Conference in Italy, led me to set up a crowdfunder for the travel expenses. Over 50 people donated over $2,000 in five weeks and I’m still expecting more to be donated. Donate to this travel fund at http://www.gofundme.com/jc-wimust
Today, I received two very surprising phone calls that confirmed my conviction that the work I do to promote women musicians is appreciated and necessary. The first call came from California. Jeannie Cheatham called to tell me about an article in ELLE magazine on Women in Music. Jeannie questioned why the writer omitted women in jazz and blues and she called me to ask why there were no veteran women in music represented and if I thought Alicia Keys is a jazz musician. I told her that times have changed and Jazz is not Jazz anymore. Alicia’s music is based on the two-chord theory that most of the other musicless hit songs of the day are based on.
Jeannie Cheatham was my guest on MUSICWOMAN RADIO on August 25, 2010. Jeannie said she believed I knew the women in jazz and blues who should have been featured in that article. I concurred and recited a litany of names including:
- Geri Allen
- Patrice Rushen
- Pattie Austin
- Regina Carter
- Terri Lyne Carrington
- Cindy Blackman Santana
- Bobbi Humphrey
- Toshiko Akiyoshi
- Dee Daniels
- Dee Alexander
- Renee Baker
- Akua Dixon
- Dotti Anita Taylor
- Bertha Hope
- Kim Clarke
- Kit McClure
- Claire Daley
- Lenore Raphael
- Amanda Sedgwick
- Cettina Donato
- Dee Dee McNeil
- KJ Denhert
- Monnette Sudler
- Marion Hayden
- Karen Briggs
- Lenora Helm
- Carmen Bradford
- Katherine Russell
- Teeny Tucker
- Linda Dachtyl
I told Jeannie that these women and women like her are not on the “A” List of women in music, although they are on the “A” list of women in Jazz and Blues, along with several others who perform frequently in the Northeast, on the West Coast, and around the world. I asked her if Esperanza Spaulding was in the article. Yes, the fledgling bassist/vocalist/composer is in the article. I told Jeannie, this is the new breed of women in music. These are the curvy darlings of the industry and we, at 65 and 84, are no longer in the running because the culture is about image, now, rather than about artistry and music. She asked me to mail her the list of women I felt should be highlighted. I agreed to do this, immediately.
The second call came from Hong Kong. Magda Machado called to say that she wanted to donate to my project but that she’d given up her bank account and credit cards and was going to send me money by Western Union. I was very surprised. She told me the work I’m doing is very important for women musicians and she wanted to help me get to Fiuggi, Italy in July. She said I could pick the money up at Publix tomorrow as she was on the way to the doctor’s office and would telegraph the money to me, immediately. I was floored to hear from this Brazilian woman who thought enough of me to call me from China – Maguinha-Magda Machado Garshol.
Then, I thought what a blessing to have women like these in my life – women like Jeannie, who understood why I had to find her, after starting her book Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On, why I had to search her on the Internet and track her down from the number on her website. Magda understood me too, although she’d only met me once, face-to-face, and was my guest on MUSICWOMAN RADIO on November 4, 2009, just before she departed Florida for Hong Kong, where she’s been ever since, reluctantly, until she met a woman composer who is helping her write down here music.
The third surprise was a link to an article entitled Why Musicians Make Our Brains Sing posted on the StooshPR Group page and tagged to me. This article asserted that, “each act of listening to music may be thought of as both recapitulating the past and predicting the future.”
In light of that assertion, I concluded that, although I’m about to be extinct as a jazz vocalist, I can rest assured that I have touched many hearts not only with my music but with my non-profit organization Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. that has the mission of promoting women musicans, globally, whether they are old, young, curvy, fluffy, obscure or famous. The messages in women’s music MUST be heard and we must Consciously Include Women Musicians in all programming, particularly that funded by public taxes.
We’re on a mission to take our ensemble on tour. Help fund our project by clicking the link below and donating $1, $5, $10, $100, or whatever your heart guides you to GIVE to support women musicians, today!
We are an 8-woman ensemble of seasoned musicians: 3 vocalists, piano, bass, drums, sax, and a dancer – telling the stories of women in blues and jazz from Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Alberta Hunter, Bessie Smith, and Ethel Waters to Marylou Williams, Marian McPartland, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Nina Simone, and more!
Each show is $2,500, in our region (South Florida to Naples). This presentation has educated and entertained thousands of students through grants, since 1997. It has grown to an ensemble of women steeped in jazz and blues music.
Your contribution can start a trend of supporting women musicians in their performance endeavors. We thank you, in advance, for taking the time to explore our project and giving to our cause of preserving the stories of women in blues and jazz.
Since 1997, Joan Cartwright has presented Amazing Musicwomen, either alone or with piano accompaniment.
Now, Joan has 7 women joining her in this presentation. They need funding to go on tour. Help by donating to this project.
TV Host Jordan Love interviews international jazz artist Joan Cartwright about her life, loves and music. Click image or here to watch the show.