Jazzwomen: Conversations with Twenty-One Musicians / Edition 1

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“Their conversations range far beyond the biographical—to their feelings, motivations, musical approaches, and attitudes. These women were obviously comfortable with their ... questioners. [Enstice and Stockhouse] came prepared, having delved deeply into the music and history of each, bringing them closer to the essence of each musician.” —from the Preface by Cobi Narita and Paul Ash “Jazzwomen includes many artists who are not covered in earlier books and also reveals new information about artists who are. In addition, the interview format used in Jazzwomen provides the reader with each artist’s own words, permeated with a warmth and immediacy not typically found in author narratives. Jazzwomen is a much-needed book.” —David N. Baker, Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman, Jazz Department, Indiana University School of Music; and Artistic and Musical Director, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Between 1995 and 2000, Wayne Enstice and Janis Stockhouse interviewed dozens of women jazz instrumentalists and vocalists. Jazzwomen collects 21 of the most fascinating interviews. The participants discuss everything—their personal lives, musical training and inspirations, recordings, relationships with other musicians, the music industry, sexism on the bandstand—and often make candid and revealing statements. At the end of each interview is a recommended discography compiled by the authors. Every jazz listener, musician, teacher, and student will be captivated by interviews with Marian McPartland, Regina Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall, and their peers. Includes a sampler CD with complete works by several of the artists, including Jane Ira Bloom and Ingrid Jensen. Read more Show Less

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"Their conversations range far beyond the biographical—to their feelings, motivations, musical approaches, and attitudes. These women were obviously comfortable with their questioners. [Enstice and Stockhouse] came prepared, having delved deeply into the music and history of each, bringing them closer to the essence of each musician." —from the Preface by Cobi Narita and Paul Ash

"Jazzwomen includes many artists who are not covered in earlier books and also reveals new information about artists who are. In addition, the interview format used in Jazzwomen provides the reader with each artist’s own words, permeated with a warmth and immediacy not typically found in author narratives. Jazzwomen is a much-needed book." —David N. Baker, Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman, Jazz Department, Indiana University School of Music; and Artistic and Musical Director, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

Between 1995 and 2000, Wayne Enstice and Janis Stockhouse interviewed dozens of women jazz instrumentalists and vocalists. Jazzwomen collects 21 of the most fascinating interviews. The participants discuss everything—their personal lives, musical training and inspirations, recordings, relationships with other musicians, the music industry, sexism on the bandstand—and often make candid and revealing statements. At the end of each interview is a recommended discography compiled by the authors.

Every jazz listener, musician, teacher, and student will be captivated by interviews with Marian McPartland, Regina Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall, and their peers. Includes a sampler CD with complete works by several of the artists, including Jane Ira Bloom and Ingrid Jensen.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Magill Book Reviews

"For anyone who loves jazz and is interested in learning more fully the contribution made by women on jazz, this collection of interviews is an essential read." —Magill Book Reviews

Critical Studies in Improvisation

"In Jazzwomen, Wayne Enstice and Janis Stockhouse have assembled a colourful collage of perspectives, opinions, and anecdotes from a diverse selection of musicians, ranging widely across racial, national, and socio-economic boundaries." —Critical Studies in Improvisation, Vol. 4, No. 2 (2008)

AllAboutJazz.com
"Enstice and Stockhouse have provided a service to the music world with Jazzwomen. This substantial collection offers plenty of informative and entertaining material. It also comes with a sampler CD, featuring performances by many of the artists interviewed. This book truly deserves all the recognition it can get. Anyone interested in this book is definitely in for a treat." —Kyle Simplier, AllAboutJazz.com, 11/9/04

— Kyle Simplier

From the Publisher

"Enstice and Stockhouse have provided a service to the music world with Jazzwomen. This substantial collection offers plenty of informative and entertaining material. It also comes with a sampler CD, featuring performances by many of the artists interviewed. This book truly deserves all the recognition it can get. Anyone interested in this book is definitely in for a treat." —Kyle Simplier, AllAboutJazz.com, 11/9/04

"For anyone who loves jazz and is interested in learning more fully the contribution made by women on jazz, this collection of interviews is an essential read." —Magill Book Reviews

David N. Baker

"Jazzwomen includes many artists who are not covered in earlier books and also reveals new information about artists who are. In addition, the interview format used in Jazzwomen provides the reader with each artist’s own words, permeated with a warmth and immediacy not typically found in author narratives. Jazzwomen is a much-needed book." —David N. Baker, Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman, Jazz Department, Indiana University School of Music; and Artistic and Musical Director, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

AllAboutJazz.com - Kyle Simplier

"Enstice and Stockhouse have provided a service to the music world with Jazzwomen. This substantial collection offers plenty of informative and entertaining material. It also comes with a sampler CD, featuring performances by many of the artists interviewed. This book truly deserves all the recognition it can get. Anyone interested in this book is definitely in for a treat." —Kyle Simplier, AllAboutJazz.com, 11/9/04

Montreal Gazette

"Jazzwomen presents a wealth of experiences and life stories, providing a multifaceted view of 20thcentury jazz history.... [A]ll the women interviewed... share a profound and driving passion for jazz that has defined their lives, and, without exception, the interviewers draw out that passion and zero in on the stories that best illustrate these women's relationships to music." —Montreal Gazette

Booklist
At their best, question-and-answer interviews can communicate personality as impressively as the best fiction... Enstice and Stockhouse bat close to a thousand with their interviews of 21 women who have made their way, often to the pinnacle of acclaim, in the male-dominated world of jazz... Each woman sounds unique, and as any jazz lover would tell you, that's what makes each of them a jazzwoman. Sublime.
Wall Street Journal
illuminating. . . .
—Nat Hentoff
The Whole Note
This collection of interviews reveals so much about jazz that at first you could overlook that all the subjects are women. Each interview . . . covers a remarkable amount of material, autobiographical and aesthetic. . . .
All About Jazz
Enstice and Stockhouse have provided a service to the music world with Jazzwomen. This substantial collection offers plenty of informative and entertaining material. It also comes with a sampler CD, featuring performances by many of the artists interviewed. This book truly deserves all the recognition it can get. Anyone interested in this book is definitely in for a treat.
Library Journal
Having spoken with numerous musicians over a period of six years, the authors (educators in music and art) have culled 21 interviews for this book focusing on women prominent in jazz. Thankfully, these aren't just pat question-and-answer sessions, as both authors show a depth of knowledge commensurate with that of the musicians they interviewed. What results are lively interchanges in which the musicians feel comfortable enough to go off on interesting tangents and the interviewers are able to follow them closely. The musicians range widely in age, and their perspectives offer much insight into their own music and into music as a historical whole. Those interviewed run the gamut from soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom to pianist Marian McPartland, with particularly intriguing contributions from organist Shirley Scott and pianist Marilyn Crispell. A wonderfully expressive contribution to jazz literature, this is recommended for all libraries.-William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253344366
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Series: Profiles in Popular Music Series
  • Edition description: BOOK & CD
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Wayne Enstice is Professor and former Director at the School of Art, University of Cincinnati. His studio work has been exhibited nationally and is included in public and private collections. He is co-author of Jazz Spoken Here with Paul Rubin. He lives in the Cincinnati area.

Janis Stockhouse, Director of Bands at Bloomington High School North in Bloomington, Indiana, is a member of the Young Talent Resource Team of the International Association for Jazz Education. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Press

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Read an Excerpt

Jazzwomen

Conversations with Twenty-One Musicians


By Wayne Enstice, Janis Stockhouse

Indiana University Press

Copyright © 2004 Wayne Enstice and Janis Stockhouse
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-253-34436-6



CHAPTER 1

Jane Ira Bloom


Soprano saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom has received international recognition for her novel explorations of sound as affected by motion and space. Whether she is swinging her own instrument in wide arcs or writing compositions that have the performers spinning as they play, the musical outcome of sound moving through space creates a breathtaking three-dimensional sonic experience. Also a pioneer in the use of live electronics, Bloom has carved a niche for herself as an innovative contemporary composer and a blue-chip saxophonist.

Born in 1955, this Massachusetts native began saxophone at an early age, and took private lessons during high school at the Berklee School of Music. She earned college degrees from Yale; while there, she frequented Boston jazz clubs and recorded her first two albums for Outline Records, a label she founded.

Moving to New York City in 1977, Bloom honed her skills studying with saxophone master George Coleman. Her growth during this period as both a saxophonist and a composer is documented on three convincing records in the early '80s. One of them, Mighty Lights, received five stars from Down Beat and established her as a new voice to be reckoned with on the soprano saxophone.

In tandem with her conception that music suggests shapes in space, in the late 1980s Bloom began to blend electronic tools such as digital delays, multiverb, and pitch shifters into her already swirling method of performing. As the first musician commissioned by the NASA Art Program, she composed Rediscovery, a four-part suite saluting the space shuttle Discovery, which was premiered at Cape Canaveral in the fall of 1989. As a result of her NASA collaboration, Asteroid 6083 Janeirabloom was named in her honor.

Producing all of her own albums in the '90s, Bloom issued several highly regarded recordings on the Arabesque label. Her 1992 CD, Art & Aviation, was cited as one of the year's best jazz albums by Jazz Times, and her 1999 release, The Red Quartets, elicited widespread critical acclaim. In 2003, her pursuit of intersections between music and art was memorably celebrated in Chasing Paint: Jane Ira Bloom Meets Jackson Pollock.

Bloom is a formidable improviser whose virtuosity has transcended the physical limits of the temperamental soprano saxophone. Using foot pedals to effortlessly switch in and out of the acoustic mode, she intersperses electronic whirs and ripplets to create a fascinating synthesis of musical sounds. Her sumptuous tone is more vocal than instrumental, and her hypnotic treatment of ballads breathes fresh life into chestnuts from the Great American Songbook.

Recent critical attention confirms Bloom's growing stature as a singular musician. In 2001, she won the Down Beat Critics Poll for best soprano saxophonist of the year, the Charlie Parker Fellowship for Jazz Innovation, the IWJ Jazz Masters Award, and the Doris Duke/Chamber Music America Jazz Composition Award. She has written for the American Composers' Orchestra, for the Pilobolus Dance Company, and for television and film features. More recently she premiered "Unexpected Light" for soprano saxophone and string quintet, and she has formed a new world music ensemble including Chinese pipa master Min Xiao-Fen. In 2003, Bloom was the winner of the highly regarded Jazz Journalists Soprano Saxophonist of the Year Award.


Recorded October 27, 1995, and March 24, 2000

JS: Jane, let's go back in time and imagine that as a youngster you never saw a soprano saxophone and music was not a part of your life. If that were the case, what would you be like today?

JIB: Good question! (Laughs.) I've got to think about that one. I might be a bit crazier than I am today. I might be a pretty wild person. (Laughs.) Music, for me, even from the time when I was very young was a very expressive outlet for whatever is inside gettin' out. It was how I identified myself. I felt even from the earliest time that I had music inside me. And if that wasn't there, who would I have been? Boy, no one's ever asked me that question. I kind of wonder very seriously whether I might've had some mental problems. (Laughs.)

JS: As a youngster, were you drawn more toward one kind of music than another?

JIB: Let me think about that. I knew I had the ability to improvise from a very young age. Something I loved to do. From the get-go, I was inventing things, even when I studied piano very early on. It was just a part of playing music. Even at a younger age I was observing the personality types and what it takes to be a classical musician or an improviser. I hadn't made any decisions about it, but I have to say, probably in all honesty, I think my intuition was heading me toward a place that was freer, that was in the jazz world.

WE: Did you improvise in other ways? Were you involved in the visual arts or playacting? If I were your friend, what would we do of an afternoon when you were nine?

JIB: That's a good question. You're right, visual things: drawing. Toward high school I had a very strong affinity for photography. Very abstract. People tell me that if you saw my photographs they look like what I play. (Laughs.)

JS: As a musician, were you classically trained?

JIB: Yes. But I wasn't trained to be this or that. In my early education I didn't feel that my teachers were trying to teach me to be a classical player or a jazz player or an "anything" player. They were trying to train me to play the instrument so that I could do whatever I needed to do on it. I realize now, in retrospect, that was tremendously important.

JS: Which of your teachers were particularly praiseworthy?

JIB: Wind ensembles with Frank Battisti at the New England Conservatory were a big influence. But I'm talking specifically about Joe Viola. I mean, he really was my main point of contact.

JS: When did you begin your studies with Joe Viola?

JIB: When I was in ninth grade. I had studied alto saxophone in public school, and I was ready for a serious teacher. He was head of the Woodwind Department at Berklee, and I went into Boston to study with him privately. We spent a long time talking about improvisation, but the main point of study with him was woodwind technique: how to blow a saxophone, how to sight-read. I continued to study with him through college. So after eight to ten years I was still checking him out. (Laughs.) I count him as a teacher, a friend, and a mentor to this day.

JS: Do you associate your choice of the soprano with Viola?

JIB: It's absolutely associated with him. He's it. I wouldn't be playing it if it weren't for him. No question about it. When I heard him play the soprano, it was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard. I said, "I want to do that, I want to sound like that." That was Joe Viola. He's the major, major source.

JS: Did you learn about the Paris Conservatory solos and etudes?

JIB: Did I learn about French literature for the saxophone and sax quartet because of where the saxophone came from? My answer is yes. I spent a lot of time working on traditional etude material, again, to help hone my facility on the instrument, and also because I liked it. It was fun! We did jazz studies, too, simultaneously, but to me it was all one thing.

JS: How did you learn about the blues or what kind of a scale to play on a C minor 7 chord?

JIB: I didn't learn it from instructional books on how to play jazz, which is, right now, very common. It came from listening and an overwhelming passion for this sound I heard on records early on. As soon as I could get to hear it live, I would hear it live. My inroads to this music were through my ears. After studying with various teachers, I learned how to label things. My ears came first—the intuitive response to the music, and how to play it. It came secondarily from the page.

JS: What records did you listen to?

JIB: They were my mother's record collection. Ella Fitzgerald—you know, the American Songbook—Nelson Riddle, those kinds of things. That knowledge of the song tradition informs everything that I do. The American Songbook was something that was very primal for me at the beginning of my very first musical sounds. It's had a way of impacting on my music whether it's in the most traditional expression of those songs, like the versions that are on The Red Quartets, or whether that sense of melody creeps into my more contemporary writing, even in pieces like "Emergency" or "Five Full Fathoms."

WE: As a person interested in ideas, your approach to music at times draws on the world of science and technology, as applied to, for example, space exploration. Do you feel an affinity for science?

JIB: I'm a curious person. I was never a science jock when I was in school, but I have to say that those things interest me truly as a layperson. I was always interested in the core questions that are behind things like physics and space exploration. I don't approach it as, say, an engineer approaches it—you know, all the nuts and bolts of how you get people into space. It was definitely from an artist's point of view that I was interested in space exploration. What interested me was the wonder of it.

WE: Tell us about your involvement with NASA.

JIB: A group of seven of us, an "art team" it was called, would go down to NASA—this was just after the Challenger accident. This group of artists was brought in to observe firsthand the launch and the mission of the shuttle Discovery's return to flight. Then we went to Edwards Air Force Base to watch the landing as well. From our experiences we were to contribute a work of art to their traveling space art collection. It was a formative experience for me, talking about art and science collaborating.

WE: What influenced you particularly—the sounds of the launch, the high-tech systems, or just the space-age environment?

JIB: Hard to nail it down, but if you could imagine the artists being there with sketchbooks, and I was there with my tape recorder. Just recording anything I heard, trying to be perceptually aware. You know, you can't miss things like the sound of that launch or the sonic boom. The roar of a shuttle engine coming at you six seconds after you see it. That's fascinating. (Laughs.) I actually recorded the sound of the launch, and the guys at the Kennedy Space Center were saying, "Ah, this is nothing compared to what the Apollo engines used to sound like. You shoulda heard them." That's being very literal, but the other part of it is simply being a part of the experience of documenting the important historic role of men and women going into space. Being there when history is being made.

WE: Undoubtedly, it was a creative milestone for you.

JIB: It was. One of the most exciting experiences of my life was being part of that program, and it still resonates with me today. The orchestral piece that I wound up writing for NASA involved motion, it involved spatial electronics, it involved as much as I could think of that was as technically challenging in my own art form as the event that I was observing. I still write pieces thinking about it. One of the nice perks about being associated with the program was that I'd get press releases with photos about all the latest things that were coming out of the planetary program and the space program. I remember one press release I got was the announcement that the Hubble had discovered one of the most distant galaxies. I still have the sheet somewhere. But it so impressed me, you know, just reading about this thing, that I wrote a piece which is on Art and Aviation, called "Most Distant Galaxy."

WE: Another piece on Art and Aviation is "Hawkins' Parallel Universe," which sounds like it's based on "Body and Soul." What's the connection between Coleman Hawkins and a parallel universe?

JIB: Everybody thinks it's Stephen Hawking, the physicist. And you're right, "Body and Soul." Parallel universe? Well, to my ears, Coleman Hawkins was such an innovator in his time. He used to pick notes that were so out of the galaxy of his own time that I felt that I should write a piece and take it one step further—look for notes and rhythms that pushed my hearing outside the tonal centers and eighth-note jazz feel.

WE: What was the musical impetus for your participation in the NASA program?

JIB: Working with electronics. It was a passion of mine in the context of my own work as a jazz artist. Interestingly enough, the jazz community found it very strange. There's a certain segment of the jazz community that looks askew at involving electronic devices in jazz expression, for various reasons. It's not considered pure. To me it felt perfectly natural to use what I knew to take me to places I didn't know through music.

WE: Do you consider yourself to be a non-conformist in the jazz world?

JIB: I seem to have singular interests in things that are not always shared by other people. (Laughs.) I find it completely comfortable to play jazz concerts in planetariums. It makes perfect sense to me to write a piece of music about a painting. I don't think twice about it if I feel that live electronics are part of the palette of sound that I hear coming out of the saxophone. It doesn't faze me a bit to know that that's part of who I am or what my sound is.

WE: Returning to your chronology, didn't you start a record company early in your career?

JIB: Yes. Outline Records came about in the mid-'70s, when I was just getting ready to leave college and realizing, as a member of the music community in New Haven, that if I wanted to have a career I was going to have to promote myself. I was not alone among musicians who felt at the time that they didn't see any major record companies signing new, unknown artists, and if we wanted to document music that we felt was important, we'd have to do it ourselves. So at that time there was a group of us that went about the process of learning how to make records, or "LPs" in those days. How you record it, how you send it to a manufacturer, how you write the liner notes, get the album printed, and get it distributed. It's kinda like cottage-industry jazz. So I decided to start my own record company. I had been rehearsing and performing with a bassist in New Haven by the name of Kent McLagen. We were very serious about the original music we were playing and felt it was worth documenting. We recorded in 1976 in New Haven, and that was my "calling card" to the critics and to the distributors in New York. It was a way of introducing myself, in a sense, before I got here in 1977. That's how Leonard Feather and Nat Hentoff heard of my work.

WE: Could an independent jazz musician today fare as well?

JIB: Good question. It's a different world today; it was a smaller jazz world. That's the important thing. They weren't as inundated with product as they are today, and it also was an underground-jazz movement. This was counter to anything that was going on commercially at the time, and there really wasn't that much going on, you know, in terms of commercial jazz recording in the '70s. The music was underground, and this was a way of bringing it forth.

WE: During your last years at Yale, you drove into New York to study with George Coleman. Why did you choose him as a teacher?

JIB: I wanted to learn how to play fast. I was nineteen or twenty years old, and he had a harmonic sensibility that was, as John Pareles said about Sonny Rollins, "just a higher degree of calculus" than I understood. I wanted to get near it, I wanted to know what it was, and I wanted to know how he could do it with such horrendous speed. I don't know if that's what ultimately I learned with George, but I sure learned a lot from being around him and being next to that sound. You know, you think you're gonna learn something and you learn something else.

JS: Do you still practice regularly?

JIB: Absolutely. That's what I love to do.

JS: What would a typical practice session involve?

JIB: Sound and technique. Some people like to practice playing songs. I like to practice in almost a kinesthetic way. I do things at home that you'd never want to hear anybody do in public. I feel badly for whoever is in the room upstairs. It's like batting with a doughnut on. It's like reaching for intervals that you can't quite hear, playing at tempos that you can't quite cut. So that when you are with your instrument in a musical environment, you feel like the weight is off, you feel free as a bird, you feel lighter. It's an interesting but technical kind of approach. You're just constantly making sure that all your kinesthetic ability as a woodwind player is together so that you can express what you need to express spontaneously. To get your ideas through to your fingers as easily as you can. You know, try to make the instrument disappear.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Jazzwomen by Wayne Enstice, Janis Stockhouse. Copyright © 2004 Wayne Enstice and Janis Stockhouse. Excerpted by permission of Indiana University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Preface by Cobi Narita and Paul Ash
Introduction by Wayne Enstice
Jane Ira Bloom
JoAnne Brackeen
Clora Bryant
Terri Lyne Carrington
Regina Carter
Marilyn Crispell
Barbara Dennerlein
Dottie Dodgion
Shirley Horn
Ingrid Jensen
Sheila Jordan
Diana Krall
Abbey Lincoln
Virginia Mayhew
Marian McPartland
Helen Merrill
Maria Schneider
Shirley Scott
Carol Sloane
Teri Thornton
Cassandra Wilson
Bibliography
Index

CD contents:
BLOOM - "Always Hope"
BRACKEEN - "Cram 'N Exam"
CARRINGTON - "Giggles"
CRISPELL - "Collage for Coltrane #1"
DENNERLEIN - "Jimmy's Walk"
JENSEN - "Woodcarvings"
JORDAN - "The Crossing"
MAYHEW - "Apple Flambe"
McPARTLAND - "Twilight World"
THORNTON - "Knee Deep in the Blues"

Indiana University Press

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