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Women in Jazz: NPR’s Insights

March 26, 2024

Women in Jazz: NPR’s Insights

March 26, 2024
Gabriela Novellino

Towards the end of Women’s History Month, it’s definitely worth checking out this interesting NPR article about the participation of women in the jazz industry throughout the ages. The article dives deep into the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, shedding light on how little growth there has been in the representation and participation of women in jazz music.

The data from the poll reveals that while there have been some positive shifts, such as an increase in the number of projects led by women in the top 10 rankings, the overall progress remains limited. It’s like taking a step forward and then realizing there’s a long road ahead. The numbers show that women-led projects make up around 18-22% of the total albums voted on in the poll, indicating a persistent gap in gender equality.

Sweethearts of Rhythm trumpet section in 1944:
Ray Carter, Johnnie May Stansbury, Toby Butler, and Ernestine Tiny Davis.

Even though we see notable female artists making their mark at the top of the poll rankings, the article questions whether this reflects true equality or if it’s more about a few exceptional women getting the spotlight. The analysis also uncovers that many jazz recordings ranked in the poll don’t include any women musicians in their core personnel, highlighting ongoing challenges in achieving gender balance in jazz.

In conclusion, the article prompts us to rethink how we assess and celebrate jazz music, urging for a more inclusive and diverse approach. While there’s been some progress, there’s still much work to be done to ensure that women musicians receive the recognition and opportunities they deserve in the jazz industry.

Gabriela Novellino

Gabs started dancing in 1995 at four years old and has never stopped. While spending a year abroad in Leeds, UK in 2012, she discovered the dances of the Jazz Age, fell hopelessly in love, and decided to dedicate her life to this passion. She acts as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, researcher, dj and event organizer primarily in Brazil, Chile, and other South American scenes. She specializes mainly in Lindy Hop, Authentic Jazz, 1920s’ Charleston and Collegiate Shag. During the pandemic, Gabs has reinvented herself in order to bring people together through dance in an online format, by hosting online classes, sharing interesting information on social media and organizing big events, such as América Latina Swings. She is also a huge history geek and loves to dig deeper into the roots of Jazz music and dance. As a guest in the culture, she honors the opportunity to share the legacy and culture of Black American artists who created this art form.

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