Things You Thought Today
- helenofjoy - May 23, 2013 - 3:28pm
Cryptic Posts - Leave Them Guessing
- helenofjoy - May 23, 2013 - 3:26pm
~ Have a good joke you can post? ~
- 2cats - May 23, 2013 - 2:20pm
If WWII had been an online game
- gypsyman - May 23, 2013 - 1:59pm
What do you want to drive?
- Red_Dragon - May 23, 2013 - 12:51pm
BillyGee's Greatest Segues
- ptooey - May 23, 2013 - 12:46pm
Maps • Google • GeoGuessr
- ScottFromWyoming - May 23, 2013 - 12:42pm
What Makes You Laugh?
- MsJudi - May 23, 2013 - 12:36pm
The Global War on Terror
- kurtster - May 23, 2013 - 12:15pm
oh boy CAKE!
- pigtail - May 23, 2013 - 12:12pm
Bug Reports & Feature Requests
- 2cats - May 23, 2013 - 12:10pm
- kurtster - May 23, 2013 - 12:04pm
- 2cats - May 23, 2013 - 11:59am
Best Song Comments.
- steeler - May 23, 2013 - 11:21am
- miamizsun - May 23, 2013 - 10:58am
Those Silly FBI Guys!
- RichardPrins - May 23, 2013 - 10:48am
- Proclivities - May 23, 2013 - 10:30am
Graphic designers, ho!
- mutepoint - May 23, 2013 - 10:15am
- buzz - May 23, 2013 - 10:09am
- Prodigal_SOB - May 23, 2013 - 9:30am
Great guitar faces
- Proclivities - May 23, 2013 - 9:24am
Today in History
- Proclivities - May 23, 2013 - 9:22am
What is Humanity's best invention?
- meower - May 23, 2013 - 9:15am
Epic Facebook Statuses
- MsJudi - May 23, 2013 - 8:28am
Radio Paradise Comments
- lily34 - May 23, 2013 - 8:18am
The Dragons' Roost
- gypsyman - May 23, 2013 - 8:17am
I SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM !
- MsJudi - May 23, 2013 - 8:02am
RPeep News You Should Know
- MsJudi - May 23, 2013 - 8:00am
What are you doing RIGHT NOW?
- sunybuny - May 23, 2013 - 7:56am
Ridiculous or Funny Spam
- mzpro5 - May 23, 2013 - 7:42am
Favorite Lyrics Thread
- sirdroseph - May 23, 2013 - 6:47am
Way Cool Video
- Red_Dragon - May 23, 2013 - 6:37am
Name My Band
- lily34 - May 23, 2013 - 6:36am
Tips and tricks for reading Forum Topics
- kurtster - May 23, 2013 - 6:32am
Public Messages in a Private Forum
- Red_Dragon - May 23, 2013 - 6:08am
Math and Physics Club T-Shirt Design Contest
- Proclivities - May 23, 2013 - 6:06am
Local Scandals, politics and news
- Red_Dragon - May 23, 2013 - 6:06am
The War On You
- kurtster - May 23, 2013 - 5:39am
- miamizsun - May 23, 2013 - 5:17am
- ErikX - May 22, 2013 - 11:46pm
- oldviolin - May 22, 2013 - 11:41pm
- oldviolin - May 22, 2013 - 11:34pm
- OlderThanDirt - May 22, 2013 - 9:32pm
Gotta Get Your Drink On
- gypsyman - May 22, 2013 - 8:38pm
- ErikX - May 22, 2013 - 8:21pm
What Did You Do Today?
- GeneP59 - May 22, 2013 - 7:06pm
- Steve - May 22, 2013 - 6:06pm
- miamizsun - May 22, 2013 - 5:53pm
God's own country
- miamizsun - May 22, 2013 - 5:41pm
• • • What's For Dinner ? • • •
- bokey - May 22, 2013 - 3:09pm
HALF A WORLD
- oldviolin - May 22, 2013 - 1:53pm
How's the weather?
- 2cats - May 22, 2013 - 1:51pm
Make Jrzy Laugh
- Proclivities - May 22, 2013 - 1:31pm
Is there any DOG news out there?
- ScottFromWyoming - May 22, 2013 - 1:31pm
- oldviolin - May 22, 2013 - 1:26pm
Memorials - Remembering Our Loved Ones
- oldviolin - May 22, 2013 - 1:19pm
design • creative
- oldviolin - May 22, 2013 - 1:18pm
Cool Stuff I Really Want
- lily34 - May 22, 2013 - 12:11pm
Windchimes: the Devil's music-box. Discuss...
- Red_Dragon - May 22, 2013 - 11:49am
What makes you smile?
- MsJudi - May 22, 2013 - 11:25am
Make Lily34 Laugh
- lily34 - May 22, 2013 - 10:58am
Jobs mving out East
- bokey - May 22, 2013 - 10:57am
Mixtape Culture Club
- sirdroseph - May 22, 2013 - 10:31am
If not RP, what are you listening to right now?
- sirdroseph - May 22, 2013 - 10:25am
- miamizsun - May 22, 2013 - 9:45am
What did you have for lunch?
- Antigone - May 22, 2013 - 9:29am
Computer & Video Games
- aflanigan - May 22, 2013 - 9:27am
Favorite Movie Quote Conversation
- Proclivities - May 22, 2013 - 9:11am
- aflanigan - May 22, 2013 - 9:09am
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The Chomsky / Zinn Reader
- miamizsun - May 22, 2013 - 9:02am
Like shooting fish in a barrel
- buzz - May 22, 2013 - 8:50am
Make Meowie shoot milk out her nose
- meower - May 22, 2013 - 8:41am
Oh GOD, they're GAY!
- miamizsun - May 22, 2013 - 7:35am
Vitamins and Supplements
- MsJudi - May 22, 2013 - 6:26am
(a public service of RP)
Sexism In The Cellars
Location: Downstairs at Downton
LIfe is but Haiku or Kobayashi Maru I just dunno crap
Apr 16, 2011 - 9:55am
Manbird wrote: I guess someone should keep this thread going, and who better than me?
Celling sex is not only immoral, but probably painful.
And the real oldest trade was Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas.
Offal Makes Me Strong! Strong! Strong! Weak! Strong! Strong! Strong! Strong! Strong! Strong!
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Apr 16, 2011 - 9:42am
Feb 9, 2005 - 11:40pm
There's no shortage of women vocalists in jazz, but female bands of the Some Like It Hot variety remain a rarity. Sholto Byrnes laments a latent chauvinism
The Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho was packed out night after night recently, when a hot American piano trio made a rare visit to London. Fire, lyricism, swing, novel interpretation of tunes from beyond the jazz canon - everything a critic and a receptive public could want was present. Unusually, however, the leader was a woman, Lynne Arriale.
That may seem a contrary point to make. Isn't the history of jazz told through its many "first ladies"? The names of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan trip easily off the tongue. In the last few years, there has been the phenomenon of Diana Krall, and in Britain Clare Teal and Gwyneth Herbert have gained greater recognition than most jazz musicians dare imagine.
Look at the list again, though, and notice what they all have in common - they are singers. While they dominate the mass market end of jazz, very few singers have made a major contribution to the development of the music. And as so many of them lack the defining skill of a jazz performer - being able to improvise - the place of the singer in jazz is at best a marginal one.
The ongoing core of the tradition is provided by instrumentalists. Within that core, women have had a very different role. As the American activist Angela Davis put it at a debate at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in 2002, women "continue to be purged from the jazz imagination, except as singers or piano players". The piano is the one instrumental exception to the rule, and performers such as Geri Allen, Eliane Elias and Marian McPartland are rated no less highly than their male counterparts. Even here, though, they are still very much a minority. So much so, that at last year's Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival (named after another great female pianist) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, one observer noted that on the main stage male performers outnumbered women by two to one.
History offers many examples of women in jazz, right back to the early years of the 1920s and 1930s when all-female bands such as The Pollyanna Syncopators and The Gibson Navigators were popular. Like the band in Some Like It Hot that Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon have to disguise themselves to join, however, many of these groups were essentially novelty acts. The bands that made more of a point of their members' femininity enjoyed greater opportunities to record, thus strengthening the stereotype of the female jazz musician as a more lightweight alternative, easier on the eye and ear than her male equivalent.
This stereotyping continues today. The British pianist Zoe Rahman, who was shortlisted in the Rising Star category in the 2001 BBC Jazz Awards, recalls several examples. "Quite often when I go into a club there's an assumption that I'm a singer," she says. "People don't look at a man and make that same assumption." Many have suggested to her that she should sing as well. "But I'm a piano player, not a singer," she says. Recently a booker asking for pianists was offered her name. "Oh, yes, Zoe Rahman," he said. "Pretty girl." Adds Rahman: "And that was that."
Another facet of the stereotyping is a sexist and unfounded, but still widespread, view that a female musician will lack sufficient aggression when necessary, or will have a more peaceful and harmonically conventional approach. Such basic prejudice is proved groundless by Rahman, Arriale, or Hiromi, a startlingly talented young Japanese pianist who can match any man for technique or forcefulness of attack. The prejudice remains, however. "Some promoters look at me and assume I'm going to play a certain kind of music," says Rahman. "They think I'm going to play some airy-fairy girlie tune. Then they're surprised when I sit down at the piano."
Examples to make the case that women have been accorded equal status in jazz can be plucked out of every generation. Count Basie's great tenorist, Lester Young, had a sister, Irma, who played the saxophone, the instrument also played by Marjorie Pettiford, the sister of the double-bassist Oscar Pettiford. Woody Herman hired a female trumpeter, Billie Rogers, while Lionel Hampton took on the saxophonist Elsie Smith. Today, the situation is probably better than it has ever been. In the UK, the guitarist Deirdre Cartwright and the trombonist Annie Whitehead are regarded as leading players in their fields, and bands such as the National Youth Jazz Orchestra contain several female members.
But as that authoritative tome The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz notes: "The appearance of a special entry on women in this dictionary is both testimony and corrective to this history." A corrective, too, to the rest of the dictionary, which is notable for the paucity of references to women - as are almost every such book on jazz and most television documentaries. One man involved in the BBC's (otherwise excellent) Jazz Britannia series even phoned a female jazz musician to apologise for the lack of women in the programmes.
Why is it that an art form whose foremost practitioners have always seen their mission as being to look forward, to innovate, should prove in practice to be guilty of the most old-fashioned male chauvinism? Guy Barker, Britain's foremost jazz trumpeter, concedes that jazz is male-dominated but pleads not guilty to the above charges. "If a female enters this world," he says, "I've observed that she will receive far more encouragement, and I say that as a positive thing. Musicians are the most open people I know. If someone's great, it doesn't matter if they're male, female, or from Mars."
Barker puts the dearth of women horn players down to personal choice. "It's nothing more mysterious than that," he says. "All it takes is for a woman to fall in love with the music of Clifford Brown or Miles Davis, pick up the trumpet and learn how to play well. But they don't do it. If you look at a classical orchestra, most of the women are in the strings, woodwind, on piano and on harp. In jazz, the instruments most used are the trumpet, saxophone and trombone. It's the instruments, not the music." According to Barker, jazz musicians listen with their ears and not their eyes. But Rahman argues that audiences often do the opposite. "The man standing in the corner with the saxophone - that's jazz," she says. "But when I was in the US I heard some young horn players talking about a female saxophonist, and they were saying 'it's just inappropriate for her to have that instrument in her mouth'."
The image and mythology of jazz are rich in stereotypes, of the beautiful singer with a tragic past, or the rascally horn player getting high in low dives. Very often, of course, they're grounded in the truth. This is a world that has been characterised by such machismo that women may not always have wanted to join it. After Billie Holiday once applauded Lester Young as the world's greatest tenor saxophonist at a club, Coleman Hawkins, who had been standing at the bar, got on stage. Ordering the pianist to start playing at the fastest tempo he could, "Bean" then proceeded to demonstrate at interminable length why he was the greatest instead.
Such behaviour is really that of the cocky schoolboy, not the artistic, visionary man. He may have grown up a lot since then. But according to many women, he's got a long way to go. Jazz man is not yet new man.