The Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival is coming to Sydney on November 7th, and with it will bring a fresh, feminine dose of singers to the male dominated genre of music. The event is scheduled to run for 10 days at the Seymour Centre's Sound Lounge.
HAVING not had the easiest time being accepted as equals in jazz, women remain comprehensively outnumbered. The wheel, however, slowly turns, and now a new jazz festival spotlights nine female-led bands, both international and local.
At its inception a century ago, jazz was frowned upon as an activity for polite young ladies. When women did break in they soon counted among its greats, including such singers as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. But the leading Australian musician Sandy Evans believes singers have been undervalued, contributing to a perception of women being at the margins of the main jazz swell.
In Sydney it has been no different. The outstanding pianist Judy Bailey carried the flame in the 1960s and '70s, before the likes of Evans (saxophones) became role models in the 1980s, and gradually the situation has improved, although it lags far behind parity.
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