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Over 10 years ago, it was my fortune to connect with the founder of Fondazione Adkins-Chiti: Donne in Musica, Patricia Adkins-Chiti, who became and remained my mentor throughout the development of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., a non-profit organization founded in the USA to promote and support women musicians, globally. Beyond her encouragement and motivation to do the work for our organization, Patricia mentored me through my doctoral process and provided me with material to include in my dissertation – Women in Jazz: Music Publishing and Marketing. Also, in 2013, I was invited to be among 40 women composers at the WIMUST Conference in Fiuggi, Italy, where I met Patricia in person and enjoyed spending time with her.
Today, I was tagged by Irene Robbins in this post from Silvia Costa:
Patricia Adkins Chiti: A life for women in music [June 13, 2018]
On June 12th, Patricia Adkins-Chiti left us. A great pain, a huge void. An extraordinary woman, a musicologist who dedicated her life to the exploitation of women musicians in the world with the women’s foundation in music/women in music which marked the 40th year. For me, for 35 years, especially a special, generous, sensitive and loving friend. Irreplaceable. But also a wife who adored her Giampaolo, musician, and composer, who combined her common passion for music and a great love made of understanding, tenderness, and complicity.
Mezzo Patricia was awarded by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi of the title of Commander of the Republic for Cultural Merit. Her pioneering role in historical research on the presence of women among musical composers and as interpreters or crew had at the base a rebellion united with a deep sense of justice: denying a historiography that in fact denied it and returning identity and honor to so many women artists and authors. For this, Patricia had been on the UNESCO Music Council and, in 1978, created the international foundation of women in music, recognized by the Italian government, UNESCO, EUC, Arab Academy, and International Music Council UNESCO.
Thanks to Patricia and her foundation, many of us have been able to meet in person hundreds of musicians and contemporary interpreters from around the world. Through its publications and extraordinary research we have discovered wealth and cultural diversity, the creativity of musicians that without her would not have come into international music history. Passion and competence brought Patricia as a young mezzo, to snoop and study in the innermost archives, in all places in the world where she first went as a singer and then as musicologist. From this capillary work was born, in the 1990s, the foundation archive based in Fiuggi: Foundation Adkins Chiti: women in music. And in the municipality of Frosinone, which she so loved and where she had a beloved house, her retreat, started a very important initiative, the International Symposium of Women in Music in Fiuggi, where the historical centre of the town filled with music and meetings of extraordinary musicians.
But her very important work of research, which led her to write over three hundred essays on the history of composition and musical guidelines, was aimed at a mission that committed her whole life and that, even yesterday, with a thread of voice from her bed she reminded me of in the hospital. That is to return memory and honor to women who are often ignored in Italy and Europe by official history. And so, in the first encyclopedia she wrote with Aaron Cohen, she discovered 21 thousand women of which 1200 were Italian. Patricia’s foundation promoted contemporary music through calls for young composers.
Together with you, I have experienced the commission’s adventure, equal opportunities with the presidency of the council and President, on horseback at the end of the s, when as president I demanded that an artist be inserted, a choice I made, after I met her in the 1980s, and I understood her great value and commitment. From that friendship, there are many things including some of her most beautiful publications such as
These three books accompanied several seasons of my life, always with Patricia close, from my experience in the Italian Parliament to the role of regional councillor to the European Parliament, where we presented it with a small concert of women. I was a member of the foundation board with dearest Gigliola Zecchi. When we were talking to Patricia about our friendship and our common commitment, we remembered two great initiatives that had seen her extraordinary creativity.
The first was in 2000, “Special Envoy” of the National Commission equal to the UNESCO Conference on cultural rights as a member of the Italian government delegation, Patricia convinced a distracted assembly, mainly male, singing in full plenary a lullaby of Schubert followed by a strong appeal “for your mothers, first teachers of music,” Patricia said, “I ask you to vote on our amendments in favour of recognition, exploitation and role of artists and musicians.” This was a success and the vote was unanimous.
The second, great project that at first seemed impossible was when she announced that she had asked for an appointment by the Secretary-General for the Jubilee of 2000 to celebrate on 12 September the feast of the Madonna with a great show of music, interreligious, entitled “Maria mater mundi”, dedicated to Maria, Myriam, and Mariam of the three great monotheistic religions.
Knowing her extraordinary ability to convince and her diplomatic skills, I never doubted that she would succeed as with the extraordinary show of dance and music in the church of Minerva in Rome with Liliana so dedicated to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a few years earlier, Bringing the dance back to a church! I still remember the emotion and extraordinary beauty of the show at the packed hall, beyond every prediction, in which they blended singing, music and dances of women from different parts of the planet, opening with the jubilee hymn from her commissioned to candeille through with an international notice. There was also a diplomatic incident because someone in the Vatican did not want a group of Iranians to sing the sacred verses of the Quran. But Patricia preferred to give up live TV rather than the singing of Iranian musicians, supported in this by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe. In an interview, she remembered that TV came from all over the world, including CNN.
Her commitment in recent months has been dedicated to carrying out the prestigious task entrusted to her by the United Nations High Human Rights Commission to organise in Rome as the only Italian foundation of the universal declaration of human rights devoted to women’s cultural rights. In the public notice launched by the foundation for women composers and creating music of all ages, nationalities, and musical training, she confided in me, the day before her death, with a special light in her eyes, that 196 replied from participating countries and 120 would be selected. She was very proud of this result and told me that the songs, which will be selected by an international commission, will be presented at the Argentina Theatre in November 2018 in a grand gala with UNESCO, UNHCR and the Italian government. This project had the official recognition of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and attributed the logo of the celebration.
Patricia’s commitment must become the commitment of all of us to bring this extraordinary event to a successful conclusion and dedicate the day of November 5 to her bright testimony of passion for music and women’s rights. I would be happy if women and in particular the musicians in Italy, Europe, and worldwide, would acknowledge European International Music Day on 21 June. I will do so on 26 June in Brussels at the high-level Conference of the European Parliament for the European Year of Cultural Heritage and on 27 June at the opening of the event dedicated by the delegation of pd to the 150th anniversary of death By Joachim Rossini.
Photos of the WIMUST Conference in Fiuggi, Italy in July 2013
This morning, the 2nd day of January 2018, Dawn Norfleet, Ph.D. wrote:
Once again, some folks are criticizing Mariah Carey’s NYE performance in below-freezing weather. (I say the following not as an MC fan specifically, but as one who thinks about the realities of a changing instrument amidst increasingly rigid and unrealistic expectations of pop audiences.) My question is: how do uber-stars cope with voices and bodies that mature? At nearly 50, it must be difficult for MC to deal with audiences’ super-high expectations that will probably get increasingly harsher and more unrealistic as she gets older. Contemporary pop songs highlight vocal calisthenics of the singer and don’t seem to have much wiggle-room for maybe not hitting those runs or those big notes that catapulted singers into uber-stardom if the planets don’t align that night. So much at stake: uber-stardom yields uber-paychecks.
So the best mature vocalists do the best they can with what they have, vocally and songwise. Jazz stars who started their careers as teens had to adjust their repertoire, singing styles, range, and approach to the realities of their instrument as the ravages of touring, big notes at all costs, and life wore on their voices. Sarah Vaughan adjusted, and so did Ella Fitzgerald. Digital studio magic ill-prepares pop audiences for even an extraordinary voice like Mariah’s for change and adjustment. Many were not forgiving of Whitney Houston’s voice, in her last years. I wonder what will happen to Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, and other post-90s vocalists in the future. I wish MC and the rest of them well, and that they can find ways to keep using their natural gifts in healthy ways that still move people. (((Thank God for the forgivingness of Jazz! I wouldn’t want the pressure of always competing with my 19-year old voice.))) I hope MC continues to train her audiences in dealing with real vox humana, rather than lip-synching. BTW – I think she got through her 2nd song more successfully. Kudos to her for pushing forth. ~ Dawn Norfleet, Ph.D. Musician and Educator
On a personal note, I began my singing career at 4 years old at the RKO Lowe’s Theater on Sutphin Boulevard and Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, New York, under the tutelage of my mother, Charlotte Galloway Cartwright, and my dance teacher, the illustrious Bernice Johnson, wife of famed saxophonist Budd Johnson. The first song I sang on stage was Somebody Loves Me in English and French. What attracted me the most was the bright footlights. Those lights lit something up inside of me at that very tender age and I went on to rock stages until November 2014, a month before my 68th birthday.
I had the fortune of being in the Jazz world, surrounded by great musicians like Freddie Hubbard, Cecil McBee, Gerald Price, Shirley Scott, Sonny Stitt, Philly Joe Jones, Count Basie, Sun Ra, Trudy Pitts, Mr. C, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Durham, Oliver Jackson, Dr. Lonnie Smith (not Lonnie Liston Smith), Lou Donaldson, Bertha Hope, Kim Clarke, Dotti Anita Taylor, Nicki Mathis, George Benson, Quincy Jones, George Cables, Cindy Blackman, Artie Simmons, Bernard Samuels, Giovanni Mazzarino, Nello Toscano, Oracio Maugeri, Paolo Mappa, Angelo Unia, and so many more who touched my lives in miraculously musical ways. I traveled on five continents in 20 countries, singing my brand of jazz and blues. The joy I experienced as a vocalist and composer is documented in my memoir – In Pursuit of a Melody (2006).
With regard to uber stars like Mariah Carey, I believe it is important to constantly reinvent yourself and manifest new and exciting experiences throughout your life. The word ‘star’ has tripped up many talented artists. But turn it around – rats – and it can bring you way down. The indignation suffered by Whitney Houston had nothing to do with her singing ability and everything to do with her ability to reinvent herself.
I always taught my students to recognize the importance of being present for the audience. You can sing by yourself in the shower. But when you step on stage, it is to be there for the audience. However, uber stars tend to go one of two ways:
My solution to the age-old problem of ageism while being a performer was to create a new reality – I went back to school and earned a doctorate in business. However, too many musicians believe they know everything they need to know by the time they reach 60. Most have no financial plan for living until they are 90. Lionel Hampton could not walk across the stage to his vibraphone, even though, after being pushed there in a wheelchair, he played his proverbial ass off.
I did not want to drop dead on a stage. After 63 years of performance, with a couple of years off for good measure, I decided I’d sung Misty, Take the A Train, and Tenderly quite enough! Lucky for me, my daughter, Mimi Johnson, followed in my footsteps, giving me plenty of opportunities to live vicariously through her. Mimi took it one step further and formed an online TV station – www.mjtvnetwork.info – (MJ = Mimi Joan).
Mimi made me an actor in two of her sitcoms, presented me on her talk show The Arts Reporter, featured my books on MJTV HOME SHOPPING BROADCAST, and my recipes on Genius Cooking! This was reinvention at its best because I was doing it, my daughter was.
Eleven years ago, I manifested Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting and advocating for women musicians, globally! Today, we have 326 members with 172 women musicians! We have six CDs of women’s music and we are embarking on several performance projects in 2018 with our musicians. Visit our website and join us at www.wijsf.org
The point is that Mariah Carey and all the other uber stars have an opportunity to reinvent themselves and manifest something great that can carry them through their later years. Their path may not be like mine. But they can use their artistic ingenuity to develop something special that can help others, while they are helping themselves to cope with the aging process. At 70, all I can think about is the fun I’m going to have getting to 80.
Life is a canvas. Be an artist and paint your life! ~ Dr. Diva JC
Freddie Hubbard is an icon! He recorded my tune SWEET RETURN (1983) and put it in his Song Book making me historical (herstorical). I sat at the feet of Miles, Diz, Buhaina, Shepp, Yusef, Rahsaan, McCoy, and Ron Carter, learning all I could about the art of improvisation. I sat with Helen Morgan 3 years before she shot Lee. I AM JAZZ!
I’ve been in conversations with Ella, Betty Carter, Irene Reid, Ruth Brown, Abbey Lincoln, and Dorothy Donegan. I was THERE at the Blue Note, Slugs in the Far East (Village) with Lee Morgan, Buhaina, Miles, Frank Foster, Charles McPherson, Bill Hardman and Joe Lee Wilson, Village Gate, at the Galleon (Bronx), and the Village Vanguard with Lou Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith who recorded my first demo tape with me that got me gigs all over the European continent. Ellington’s bass player Aaron Bell first listened to my tune “Loneliblue” and said the musicians would love playing it.
In Philly, Gerald Price taught me composition and piano, and in New York, Barry Harris was my teacher on piano and vocals. Budd Johnson was my babysitter from 4-8 years old. Milt Hinton (The Judge) was my cousin’s Godfather and he got me my first gig in Berne, Switzerland, at Marion’s Jazz Room, in 1990. I sat on Jay McShann’s lap and asked him to marry me. I proposed marriage to Quincy Jones just before I interview him for my Master’s Thesis, The Cultural Politics of Commercial Jazz, in 1993, which explained why I had to go to Europe (1990-1998) to make a living. In July 2013, I gave my book A History of African American Jazz and Blues to Quincy with the interview I did of him in 1993, 20 years earlier, in the exact same building – Stravinsky Hall, in Montreux, Switzerland [photo].
I AM Jazz!
I am the Chronicler of this music. While everyone else was PLAYING, I was documenting it. I met Quincy Troupe, co-writer of Miles’ biography. I penned lyrics to A NIGHT IN TUNISIA, TUNE UP, BLUE BOSSA, and BESSIE’S BLUES and sang them all over Europe, the East Coast of the USA, and in China and Japan. I Am the female Jazz Messenger, who sang on Jazzmobile with Buhaina, Frank Foster, Frank Wes, George Coleman, and Charles McPherson. The first person to take me on the road was Philly Joe Jones, who took me to Baltimore to perform with Shirley Scott, Arthur Harper (bass), and Sonny Stitt, in 1978. I AM the only woman in the world with a Jazz and Blues Song Book that I submitted to the Guinness Book of Records.
Google me – www.joancartwright.com. But, more importantly, I am the foremost authority on Women in Jazz and Blues and I will not be quieted about the role of women as the Mothers of the Blues and the innovators of Jazz. That’s why, in 2007, I founded www.wijsf.org to promote women musicians, globally! That’s why, since 2008, I’ve interviewed over 200 women composers at www.blogtalkradio.com/musicwoman
That’s why I created the Jazzwomen Directory that features 90 women musicians that most musicians, let alone people, do not know about and I put 40 of them in my book Amazing Musicwomen that I taught over 10,000 students (3-12 grade and college) in the U.S., Switzerland, Sicily, China, and Japan about.
I AM JAZZ!
READ my books:
TV Host Jordan Love interviews international jazz artist Joan Cartwright about her life, loves and music. Click image or here to watch the show.