…with a month to go until International Womens Day (8 March) #IWD2021 #womentothefore

Leah Willliams, Editor of LJN’s 2021 International Women’s Day Series, writes:

LJN’s International Women’s Day Editors. L-R: Fran Hardcastle (2011-2014), Catherine Ford (2014-2018) , Leah Williams (2019-Present)

We are currently preparing the 2021 edition of LJN’s International Women’s Day series. This has been a feature of the site for over a decade now, and I am pleased to have taken on the mantle from Fran Hardcastle and Catherine Ford. Fran edited the very first one back in 2011, prefacing it with this vivid piece!

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Since then we have published almost a hundred pieces for this series. From well-known names to those just beginning their journey, and those who manage, support, write about and photograph, we are proud to have created this space to champion and support the ever-increasing number of women both on stage and behind the scenes of jazz.

Here is the list for 2011-2019

And here is the 2020 list

This year, we will be bringing another series of exciting interviews and features, with some of the inspiring women to include vocalist Elaine Delmar, vocalist/pianist and journalist Fiona Ross (who recently set up the Women in Jazz Media network), publicist Lydia Liebman, and not one but two jazz violinists, American Regina Carter and Scot Seonaid Aitken.

We are also proud to work on IWD in regular partnership with Citizen Jazz in France and Jazz Halo in Belgium to highlight women in jazz across Europe.

Other IWD initiatives for 2021 are also under way

The Board of Directors of the Europe Jazz Network has just launched an initiative to encourage the kind of coverage we have been promoting since 2011 to become more widespread and normalised. The EJN press release states:

“We are encouraging editors of magazines, websites and radio producers across Europe and beyond to commit to increasing the coverage (articles, interviews) of women in the month of March and/or on International Women’s Day (8 March 2021), and where possible, to feature women and/or women led bands on the cover or landing page in that period/day.

“As EJN, we will be promoting these actions widely through our communication channels, through visuals in our website and social media, and we will encourage all our members and partners to do the same, through a coordinated online action on 8 March. The more content we will have available at that time the stronger our common message will be. We are convinced that our action will also serve as an inspiration for jazz sectors in other parts of the world.”

Also, starting today, Women in Jazz is launching a new YouTube show ‘Uncovered’ which profiles up and coming female jazz musicians. Women in Jazz is an initiative by Louise Paley and Nina Fine, and the raison d’etre of the project is to “nurture and champion the most exciting female talent in jazz from all backgrounds, ages and expressions.” Here is the first, on rising-star vocalist Celeste:

The shows will be released regularly throughout 2021 and the next will feature up-and-coming drummer, 24-year-old Jas Kayser, on 8 March.

Of course, it is important to have this space to highlight the work and talent of female musicians and jazz professionals, but we’re also happy that at LJN we are constantly striving towards parity in our coverage of jazz throughout the year. In anticipation of our upcoming IWD pieces, here are some of our recent reviews and articles written by and about women in jazz:

Review of Canadian pianist, composer and educator Amanda Tosoff’s album Earth Voices by Lavender Sutton

Review of French-Algerian singer, composer and cellist Nesrine’s self-titled album by Alison Bentley

10 Tracks by Sarah Vaughan I Can’t Do Without… by singer Lauren Bush

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