Women In Jazz: The Artists You Need To Know
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Jazzwise has gathered together interviews with some of trailblazing artists we’ve featured in the magazine in recent years including Maria Schneider, Nubya Garcia, Liane Carroll, Terri Lyne Carrington and many more. Every one of these musicians has something unique to say through their music and are part of Jazzwise’s new Women In Jazz homepage that will continue to be updated and expanded as more features are published in the coming months and years
Camilla George interview: “You have to find hope in adversity, because if you don’t, you can’t learn anything, and we don’t grow”
Camilla George opens up about the harsh realities touring today and the dark histories behind her joyous-sounding new album
Alina Bzhezhinska interview: “My goal is to make music that no one expects from a harpist”
As a teenage girl in 1990s Ukraine, Alina Bzhezhinska loved nothing more than compiling her favourite music onto cassettes, before she discovered jazz, the sonic riches of the harp and the music of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane. For her much-anticipated second album, Reflections, the harpist has revived this curatorial approach and drawn together her own personal universe of sounds
Emma Smith interview: on Meshuga Baby, her Jewish heritage and how she’s had to deal with the misogyny that’s still rife in the jazz world
Recognised as one of the most promising singers of her generation, Emma Smith has forged an impressive reputation as a first-call vocalist for jazz and pop royalty
“I SANG THE WHOLE SONG IN THE SHOWER, AND THEN FRANTICALLY I RUSHED TO FIND A RECORDING DEVICE” | CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT: MISCHIEF AND MAGIC
Cécile McLorin Salvant is one of the music’s great communicators. Kevin Le Gendre met her to discuss her album Ghost Song and found the singer in a garrulous but thoughtful mood
EMMA RAWICZ: COMPOSE ME A RAINBOW
The ability to ‘see music in colour’ or ‘see colour in sound’ has a long history among performers and composers. Hugh Morris meets young saxophonist Emma Rawicz, the latest in a distinguished line of jazz synaesthetes
ZOE RAHMAN INTERVIEW: “IF SOMEONE COMES UP TO ME CRYING AFTER A GIG I KNOW I’VE DONE A GOOD JOB”
Multi-award winning pianist and composer Zoe Rahman has taken the solo route on her album Dreamland, a personal journey of covers and rhythmically-charged originals. Marking a new creative chapter in a career that’s seen her work closely with Courtney Pine and her own Mercury Prize-nominated trio, Rahman spoke to Peter Quinn about the process of going it alone
⦿ Key album: Dreamland (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
JOANNA DUDA: THE ACCIDENTAL ANARCHIST
Polish jazz pianist, composer and electronics experimentalist Joanna Duda discovered her métier via a random computer malfunction. Now set to play the EFG London Jazz Festival this month with her forward-thinking trio, Jane Cornwell peers into the matrix of Duda’s musical mind to discover more
KATHRINE WINDFELD: “WE REALLY NEED TO BE CLOSE TO AUDIENCES TO MAKE INTERESTING MUSIC”
A fortuitous break in lockdown allowed pianist-composer Kathrine Windfeld to record her latest (and best) album Orca and despite the brakes being applied yet again, the Dane is determined to be ready once the scene gets going again, as Stuart Nicholson discovers
⦿ Key album: Orca (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
GRETCHEN PARLATO INTERVIEW: “IT'S A RETURN, IT'S AN OPENING, IT'S AN AWAKENING, A BLOSSOMING”
Gretchen Parlato’s brilliant new Brazilian-flavoured album on Edition is her best yet, says Peter Quinn. He spoke to the composer-vocalist to find out what’s behind this latest blossoming of a remarkable career
⦿ Key album: Flor (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
NUBYA GARCIA: “WE NEED TO KEEP THOSE STORIES ALIVE TO GIVE US OUR HISTORY, THE REAL HISTORY. IN MY COMMUNITY, THE BLACK COMMUNITY, THAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT”
One of the leading lights of the new young London jazz scene, saxophonist Nubya Garcia digs deep into her heritage on her debut album Source, a musical self-portrait that celebrates her wide-ranging influences. She speaks to Thomas Rees about the power we all draw from our roots, forging a sound of her own, and the art of making listeners want to move...
⦿ Key album: Nubya Garcia – Source (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
MARIA SCHNEIDER INTERVIEW: “I’M NOT INTERESTED IN EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD LISTENING TO MY MUSIC FOR FREE, I CAN’T EXIST THAT WAY”
Grammy award-winning composer and orchestra leader Maria Schneider is one of the cultural world’s most outspoken critics against the tech giants and one of jazz’s strongest advocates for musicians’ rights. So, as ‘Big Data’ plays an ever-increasing, and ever more troubling, role in musical spaces, her new album Data Lords has arrived at exactly the right time. Stuart Nicholson finds Schneider as angry and as determined to act as ever...
⦿ Key album: Maria Schneider – Data Lords (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
INTRODUCING: GEORGIA CÉCILE
Upcoming Edinburgh singer-composer Georgia Cécile almost became a lawyer, but fortunately for jazz, the lure of music proved too strong, and she is about to record her all-originals debut album. Peter Quinn talks to her about carrying on a family tradition...
LIZZ WRIGHT: “I THINK NATURE AND LIFE IN ITS RHYTHMS IS ABOUT TO DEMAND THAT WE GROW THE HELL UP AND STOP BEING AFRAID OF ONE ANOTHER”
Posessed of a uniquely expressive voice, Lizz Wright is now one of the world’s foremost exponents of the art of vocal jazz. Peter Quinn caught up with her to learn more about her love of those enduring standards by the American Songbook greats and the power of music to unite in these divisive times...
⦿ Key album: Lizz Wright – Grace (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
LAKECIA BENJAMIN INTERVIEW: “OUR JOB IS TO HEAL AND SPREAD JOY THROUGHOUT THE PLANET. THAT’S THE REASON I PLAY MUSIC.”
Fast-rising altoist Lakecia Benjamin talks to Thomas Rees about the healing power of music and the story behind Pursuance, her star-studded, intergenerational tribute to those twin powerhouses of spiritual jazz, Alice and John Coltrane...
⦿ Key album: Lakecia Benjamin – Pursuance: The Coltranes (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
ISSIE BARRATT: TIME FOR CHANGE
A dedicated champion of the underdog, baritone saxophonist and educator Issie Barratt has long been an agent of change within jazz. Her latest vehicle for opening the eyes, ears and attitudes of audiences and musicians alike is her all-female collective Interchange, who’ve just released their spectacular debut album, Donna’s Secret. Nick Hasted found out more about Barratt’s campaigning on and off the bandstand...
⦿ Key album: Issie Barratt’s Interchange – Donna's Secret (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
A WATERSHED MOMENT IN WOMEN'S JAZZ: "YOU REACHED FOR THE SKY AND WERE ABLE TO TOUCH IT”
In May 1982, London’s Drill Hall arts centre hosted a unique music festival. Early Evening Jazz ran for 10 nights and spotlighted Britain’s women instrumentalists and singers. It raised spirits in the community and broke down age-old misconceptions. Val Wilmer celebrates the event and the pioneering personalities behind it...
LIANE CARROLL: ROMANCE AND REDEMPTION
One of the UK’s leading jazz vocalists, Liane Carroll has always worn her heart on sleeve, often matching raw emotion with jaw-dropping technique. Peter Quinn spoke to Carroll about growing as an artist and her long-standing musical relationship with multi-Grammy-nominated producer James McMillan...
⦿ Key album: Liane Carroll – Seaside (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
CASSIE KINOSHI INTERVIEW: 'I FEEL LIKE, IN BRITAIN, WE DON’T LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE'
The 2019 Mercury Prize nominee Cassie Kinoshi and her SEED Ensemble take the wild sci-fi writings of Samuel R. Delaney as the foundation for their debut statement, Driftglass. Kinoshi spoke with Nick Hasted about the impact of Afro-futurism, poetry and protest on her music...
⦿ Key album: SEED Ensemble – Driftglass (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
WOMEN IN JAZZ INTERVIEW
We speak to the dynamic duo who are addressing the gender imbalance in jazz in practical and positive ways...
JAZZMEIA HORN INTERVIEW: "YOU HAVE TO GET OUTSIDE OF YOUR BOX AND GET OUTSIDE OF YOUR MASCULINE WORLD AND COME INTO MY DIVINE FEMININE WORLD"
Grammy-nominated US vocalist Jazzmeia Horn’s latest album, Love and Liberation, is a “call to action” which sees her continue her voyage into unexpected realms of song. Peter Quinn spoke to the incredible singer who has already drawn positive comparisons with such greats as Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan...
⦿ Key album: Jazzmeia Horn – Love and Liberation (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
GEORGIA MANCIO AND KATE WILLIAMS: HOMEWARD BOUND
Pianist and composer Kate Williams talks to Peter Vacher about her group Four Plus Three and the ensemble’s recent collaborations with award-winning vocalist Georgia Mancio, which have resulted in their co-led album, Finding Home...
⦿ Key album: Kate Williams' Four Plus Three Meets Georgia Mancio – Finding Home (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
TAKING OFF: REBEKAH REID
London-based violinist Rebekah Reid is breaking down barriers between genres and political divides with a heady mix of classical technique and fearless improvisation. Christine Hannigan spoke to her about how the embrace of the jazz world has transformed her life and music...
CLAIRE MARTIN INTERVIEW: “PEOPLE THINK THAT IT’S THE AMERICANS THAT SWING HARDEST – I THINK US EUROPEANS GIVE THEM A FAIR RUN FOR THEIR MONEY”
Claire Martin's album 'Believin’ It' features a specially-convened Swedish trio led by pianist Martin Sjöstedt. Peter Quinn discovers how the new ensemble pushed Martin’s superlative vocal abilities to new heights on a collection brimming with emotional resonance...
⦿ Key album: Claire Martin – Believin' It (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
THE WOMEN WHO CHANGED JAZZ
There are many under-sung women who have played a pivotal, and hugely significant, role in shaping jazz history since its very beginnings. Stuart Nicholson reappraises the achievements of some of the lesser-known artists and power brokers behind the music, without whom jazz history would look very different indeed...
LAURA JURD INTERVIEW: “WE COULD BE MUCH BOLDER AS A COUNTRY... PEOPLE ARE VERY ARTISTIC AS LISTENERS”
With their second album, Wonder Trail, Mercury-nominated quartet Dinosaur unveil a feistily expansive new sound embracing gritty jazz-rock, fuzzy funk and folk, all fuelled by an arsenal of analogue synths. Bandleader and trumpeter Laura Jurd spoke to Thomas Rees about exploring “sonic infinity”, cultural cowardice and why the jazz world needs a shake up...
⦿ Key album: Laura Jurd's Dinosuar – To The Earth (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
JAZZ PIONEER PAT MORAN: “MILES SAID, ‘THAT BITCH CAN PLAY’… PROBABLY THE BEST COMPLIMENT I EVER HAD!”
The story of jazz is littered with undiscovered treasures and under-appreciated heroes and heroines. The pianist Pat Moran – still with us at age 85 – is one such figure. She speaks to Stuart Nicholson about her remarkable life and career, and remembers her collaboration with the legendary bass player Scott LaFaro...
JOSEPHINE DAVIES: TRANE OF THOUGHT
Like her hero John Coltrane, award-winning saxophonist and Satori leader Josephine Davies digs deep into Eastern spirituality to find improvisatory freedom. She tells Selwyn Harris about the life-changing epiphany of hearing A Love Supreme for the first time, the importance of meditation and yoga, and her band’s new album...
⦿ Key album: Josephine Davies' Satori – How Can We Wake? (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
TAKING OFF: IMOGEN RYALL
Brighton-based vocalist and lyricist Imogen Ryall looks set to gain wider acclaim with a new trio album featuring long-time musical associates, sax player Julian Nicholas and pianist Mark Edwards. She talks to Peter Quinn about lyrical inspirations and more...
CHRISTINE AND INGRID JENSEN: “THERE’S NO REASON TO COMPROMISE ON THE LEVEL OF MUSIC JUST TO MAKE UP FOR ISSUES OF INTEGRATING”
Canadians Ingrid and Christine Jensen are among the most well-known siblings in jazz. Renowned instrumentalists and bandleaders in their own right since the 1990s, they’ve contributed to the bands of Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue, among others. They speak to Selwyn Harris about their special relationship, musical inspirations and gender equality issues...
NIKKI ILES INTERVIEW: “I THINK THERE’S SO MUCH MORE SCOPE NOW FOR WOMEN TO COME THROUGH. IT’S REALLY WONDERFUL.”
British big band jazz’s unsung heroine, pianist-composer-leader Nikki Iles has for years been working quietly and diligently to further the art of the ensemble. On the eve of a nationwide tour with her new orchestra, she spoke to Selwyn Harris about ‘women in jazz’, her life as a composer and about being a team player...
⦿ Key album: Nikki Iles – Hush (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
YAZZ AHMED INTERVIEW: “MUSIC HAS HELPED ME IDENTIFY WHO I AM”
For adventurous trumpeter Yazz Ahmed music was the key to unlocking her identity as a half Bahraini, half English girl growing up in suburban South London. She’s since forged a sonically-distinctive style, shaped as much by her work with Radiohead and These New Puritans as her own eclectic instincts. Here she speaks with Andy Robson about investigating her ethnic roots to challenge the strictures of genre and her new work, Polyhymnia, inspired by the courage of extraordinary women...
⦿ Key album: Yazz Ahmed – Polyhymnia (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON: “THERE’S BEEN AN UNWRITTEN NARRATIVE THAT MEN PLAY MUSIC AND WOMEN SING IT”
Grammy-winning drummer and producer Terri Lyne Carrington and her new group Social Science take aim at all manner of injustices on their debut album, Waiting Game. Thomas Rees spoke to Carrington, keys-player Aaron Parks and guitarist Matthew Stevens about the album’s message of humanity and her vision for a jazz world free from patriarchy...
⦿ Key album: Terri Lyne Carrington – Waiting Game (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
EMILIA MÅRTENSSON: “I FIND IT EXTREMELY PAINFUL TO MAKE AN ALBUM, ARTISTICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY, BECAUSE YOU’RE DEALING WITH YOUR OWN SELF THE WHOLE TIME”
With a voice of remarkable expressive depth, Emilia Mårtensson makes music in which Swedish folk songs and jazz sensibilities are subtly drawn together into a profoundly satisfying whole. She talks to Peter Quinn about making connections, creating a narrative and finding beauty in tragedy...
⦿ Key album: Emilia Mårtensson – Loredana (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
EMMA-JEAN THACKRAY: “IT’S ABOUT TRYING TO GET THAT GENUINE, ORGANIC SOUND. NOT TRYING TO FORCE IT, NOT TRYING TO CONTRIVE ANYTHING.”
Emma-Jean Thackray reflects her artistry and ambition. She talks brass bands and J Dilla with Debra Richards...
MELISSA ALDANA: “I CHOSE FRIDA KAHLO NOT BECAUSE SHE’S A WOMAN OR LATIN AMERICAN, BUT BECAUSE SHE’S SO BADASS”
Santiago-born Thelonious Monk prize-winning saxophonist Melissa Aldana has been on an intense artistic journey ever since falling under the spell of the sax greats at an early age. She speaks to Selwyn Harris about the importance of continually challenging herself and the significance of artist Frida Kahlo on recent album 'Visions'...
⦿ Key album: Melissa Aldana – Visions (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
ALICE ZAWADZKI: “THIS PAIN OF SPRING OFTEN COMES FROM THE WAY WE LAY OURSELVES ON THE LINE AGAIN AND AGAIN, ESPECIALLY IN LOVE”
Vocalist, violinist and pianist Alice Zawadzki has gone decidedly seasonal for her latest boundary-breaking album, Within You Is A World Of Spring. She spoke with Jane Cornwell about genre-busting, the literary inspirations behind her work and the impact of New Orleans jazz singer Lillian Boutté upon her artistic development...
⦿ Key album: Alice Zawadzki – Within You Is A World Of Spring (Jazzwise Reviews Database)
NÉRIJA INTERVIEW: “IT’S THE FIRST THING I’VE PLAYED ON THAT I’VE NOT WANTED TO SET FIRE TO.”
A young London jazz supergroup? Whatever you want to call them, Nérija brings together some of the most talked-about players on the UK scene. They spoke to Thomas Rees about their radiant debut album, Blume, friendship, acceptance and why they’re tired of being defined by their gender...
⦿ Key album: Nérija – Blume (Jazzwise Reviews Database)