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Women in Jazz: Breaking the Brass Ceiling

Before, there weren't a lot of opportunities for women to succeed as musicians of jazz music. It has been dominated by male musicians ever since it started. But women have shown that they have much to contribute to jazz music and not just as singers but as players too.

Those assembled here are among the most in-demand jazz musicians in the business. They perform as bandleaders and sidewomen, produce concerts, and teach at leading music schools. Each of them says she would prefer to discuss her music, not her gender. Few have had the benefit of female mentors. And most didn’t realize there was anything exceptional about being a woman in jazz until they got to college or started playing in the real world.

Several women are already making their mark in jazz. From Terri Lyne Carrington who was the first woman to win a Grammy for best jazz instrumental album. She is followed by Tia Fuller who this year was nominated for the same award. 

An ensemble of female jazz musicians called Artemis is also gaining attention and they will be playing at Carnegie Hall's Isaac Stern Auditorium this year. I think we have more to look forward to as women are moving to the vanguard of jazz.

(Image credit: Lucy Gram/Jane Ira Bloom)


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