For Women in Jazz, a Year of Reckoning and Recognition

For Women in Jazz, a Year of Reckoning and Recognition

Women In Music Breaking Through Social Barriers in the Music Industry

This year women in the music industry, especially jazz, has managed to break through the barriers of sexism and stereotypes.

Espereza Spalding is a bassist and vocalist that has recorded an entire album titled "Exposure", a portrayal of self expression and form of breaking social norms. For 77 hours straight she has produced this piece beautifully crafting and gradually transitioning to a public spectacle. This project was meant to be a challenge to herself, as she was the only woman in the room in a male dominated space. This piece became the representation of women in the workplace, including the women in the jazz industry. Although difficult and tedious the making of the album was, "Exposure" became the reflection of progression for all women.

The awareness of it not being equitable for men and women in jazz has really come to a bit of a head,” said Terri Lyne Carrington, 52, an esteemed drummer who has long spoken out about sexism in the music industry.As far as it resulting in more female instrumentalists becoming recognized — whether it’s albums or festivals or gigs — that’s steadily getting better.”

Like, Ms. Spalding, many other jazz performers, such as flutist Nicole Michelle, has produced  “Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds,” an album recorded with her Black Earth Ensemble, an eight-piece band playing percussion, strings and reeds from traditions across the globe. Women like Michelle are influential leaders in the jazz industry by showing the ability that women could improvise music and compose strong pieces of expression and strength. 2017 serves as a time of recognition for all women in the work force and women in jazz to encourage others to tear down the wall of self doubt in creating and expressing among a male dominated work force.

Gender should not be the limitation of self expression in the arts, as women have the ability to empower themselves through music and create a space of unity. Women in jazz are slowly progressing this phenomenon of developing this space in the forms of artistic and cultural direction.