Recently I found a web site devoted to art and music made by women. AND wonderful art made by great women of the early period. AMAZING! It is called www.earlywomenmasters.net/ and it covers quite a bit of territory. If you can play MIDI files on your computer (you most likely can) there's a wonderful page literally crammed full of piano-roll midi files going back centuries. Visit their web site to enjoy the many incredible musical gems, written by women that you've probably never heard of before. Silenced by time, but silent no more.
Patti Wicks - a great pianist and fine singer, Patti is world-class and should be heard around the world by everyone who loves good music. Patti is truly world class.
Gail Weisman - it doesn't have to be stone jazz to be stone hip
Ayako Shirasaki - She is one amazing musician, and an incredible pianist and composer. One of the greatest pianists I've ever heard! Don't dare miss her
Jessica Jones - Excellent saxophonist and composer, a fine friend, and a great musician
Sarah Manning - this east- coast born saxophonist and composer studied with one of my musical lights, Yusef Lateef (see and hear my Song for Yusef, available only here) and plays the horn with conviction, fire, determination, and the kind of 'knowing certainty' that usually only comes to players in their middle and later years. She's a player to listen to, starting right now. Presently working with her own band which currently features the great bassist John Wiitala, who was my esteemed musical associate for a number of years, Sarah Manning has the flame, the passion, the gift. sarahmanningmusic.com/
Lisa Marie Baratta - Saxophonist, singer and songwriter
Lady Bianca - Singer, fine pianist and songer writer
Deanna Witkowski - A wonderful pianist with a great web site and a strong sacred committment to her art and her beliefs. Continually growing and changing, she remains a determined and original force in the music.
Jayn Pettingill - Saxophonist, woman of letters, chronicler of women's musical herstory, and very advanced musician
Carolyn Brandy - Percussionist, composer, performer and teacher
Mad Duran - Tenor, alto, and soprano saxophones, flute and alto flute
Madeline Eastman - Vocalist and educator
Echo Beach - Tropical jazz percussion
Mimi Fox - Great guitarist! Really GREAT!
Claudia Gomez - Singer, songwriter, jazz and latin
Jennifer Mir - Clarinet, tenor sax, piano, organ, sitar and vocals
Michelle Latimer - Trumpet and Vocals
Rebeca Mauleón - Afro-Caribbean pianist, composer, arranger, author and educator
Kitty Margolis - Fine vocalist and musician. One of a kind!
Susan Muscarella - Pianist and director of The Jazz School; a great talent and a great educator.
Nora Nausbaum - Bach to Bebop
Pacific Empire Chorus - Women's performance and competition chorus
RAD - Keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter
Saya - Pianist and composer
Sovoso - a cappella jazz, gospel, world and R&B
Lori Stotko - Piano and trombone
Dee Spencer - Pianist, vocalist and music consultant
Cathy Walkup - Vocalist, musician
Paula West - Vocalist, musician
Yehudit - Electric violin
Please submit links, stories, special events about women musicians, artists, poets. Send in a text-based e-mail: jessica at jessicawilliams dot com
Women of Genius
As women had been largely excluded from participation in instrumental jazz for many years, their chances to become innovators and contributors remained small until very recently.
Pop music prospers in part because it speaks to a wide range of people through a wide range of voices. It's the variety of input, from a variety of different people and cultures, that keeps any art form alive and thriving.
If jazz is going to become healthy and vibrant into the 21st century, it needs to reject the elitist views that may have reflected American Culture fifty years ago, but have no place in modern civilization. These polarities never served us, merely diminished our freedom to grow creatively and spiritually.
As true art is a mirror of our times and our social fabric, an art-form that rejects freedom of active participation for any group or individual is doomed to extinction.
All of our chosen 'geniuses' (in every serious field of achievement) have been men, as decreed by a consensus that holds the belief that women are perhaps incapable of 'genius.' (Edward Teller, the 'genius', was a guy that invented the H-bomb. What a genius, what a guy! Thanks a lot, Ed...)
I question the word 'genius' itself, as it presupposes some sort of Zarathustra-like ubermensch that is not really human.
Actually, our greatest contributors are totally human. And many have been women.
Georgia O'Keefe, Agnes Martin, Louise Nevelson, Helen Frankenthaler, all great artists; they certainly qualify as geniuses and great contributors to our art and our culture.
Women of achievement are sometimes stigmatized by their strivings to reach full potential.
In this music, Marian McPartland, Mary Lou Williams, Joanne Brackeen, Virginia Mayhew, Ingrid Jentzen, Jane Ira Bloom, Carla Bley, Alice Coltrane, Cindy Blackman, and many many others are proof that we are fully and richly capable of making important and lasting cultural contributions; and perhaps, if left free to strive, to attain the dubious distinction of being called a 'genius.'