Madame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists by Leslie GourseMadame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists by Leslie Gourse

Madame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists

byLeslie Gourse

Paperback | April 30, 1999

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Nadine Jansen, a flugelhornist and pianist, remembers a night in the 1940s when a man came out of the audience as she was playing both instruments. "I hate to see a woman do that," he explained as he hit the end of her horn, nearly chipping her tooth. Half a century later, a big band namedDiva made its debut in New York on March 30, 1993, with Melissa Slocum on bass, Sue Terry on alto sax, Lolly Bienenfeld on trombone, Sherrie Maricle on drums, and a host of other first rate instrumentalists. The band made such a good impression that it was immediately booked to play at Carnegie Hallthe following year. For those who had yet to notice, Diva signaled the emergence of women musicians as a significant force in jazz.Madame Jazz is a fascinating invitation to the inside world of women in jazz. Ranging primarily from the late 1970s to today's vanguard of performance jazz in New York City and on the West Coast, it chronicles a crucial time of transition as women make the leap from novelty acts regarded as secondclass citizens to sought-out professionals admired and hired for their consummate musicianship. Author Leslie Gourse surveys the scene in the jazz clubs, the concert halls, the festivals, and the recording studios from the musicians' point of view. She finds exciting progress on all fronts, but alsolingering discrimination. The growing success of women instrumentalists has been a long time in coming, she writes. Long after women became accepted as writers and, to a lesser extent, as visual artists, women in music--classical, pop, or jazz--faced the nearly insuperable barrier of chauvinism andthe still insidious force of tradition and habit that keeps most men performing with the musicians they have always worked with, other men.Gourse provides dozens of captivating no-holds-barred interviews with both rising stars and seasoned veterans. Here are up-and-coming pianists Renee Rosnes and Rachel Z., trumpeter Rebecca Coupe Frank, saxophonist Virginia Mayhew, bassist Tracy Wormworth, and drummer Terri Lynne Carrington, andenduring legends Dorothy Donegan, Marian McParland and Shirley Horne. Here, as well, are conversations with three pioneering business women: agent and producer Helen Keane, manager Linda Goldstein, and festival and concert producer Cobi Narita. All of the women speak insightfully about theirinspiration and their commitment to pursuing the music they love. They are also frank about the realities of life on the road, and the extra dues women musicians pay in a tough and competitive field where everybody pays dues. A separate chapter offers a closer look at women musicians and thecontinual stress confronting those who would combine love, marriage, and/or motherhood with a life in music.Madame Jazz is about the history that women jazz instrumentalists are making now, as well as an inspiring preview of the even brighter days ahead. It concludes with Frankie Nemko's lively evaluation of the West Coast jazz scene, and appends the most comprehensive list ever assembled of womencurrently playing instruments professionally.
Leslie Gourse is a freelance writer whose books on jazz includeSassy: The Life of Sarah Vaughan, Unforgettable: The Life and Mystique of Nat King Cole, and Louis's Children, an acclaimed history of jazz singing. In 1991, she received an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for a series of articles on women instrumentalists.
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Title:Madame Jazz: Contemporary Women InstrumentalistsFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:304 pages, 7.87 × 5.35 × 0.55 inShipping dimensions:7.87 × 5.35 × 0.55 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195106474

ISBN - 13:9780195106473

Reviews

From Our Editors

Madame Jazz is a fascinating invitation to the inside world of women in jazz. Ranging primarily form the late 1970s to today's vanguard of performance jazz in New York City and on the West Coast, it chronicles a crucial time of transition as women made the leap from novelty acts regarded as second class citizens to sought-out professionals admired and hired for their consummate musicianship.

Editorial Reviews

"Leslie Gourse's interesting and worthwhile Madame Jazz recounts the tribulations and rewards of several contemporary women instrumentalists, from relative newcomers like Jane Ira Bloom and Joanne Brackeen to veterans like Marian McPartland and Shirley Horn."--L.A. Daily News