Mothers in Jazz

Mothers In Jazz (14): Jodi Proznick

Mothers In Jazz” is a new series, started by vocalist Nicky Schrire. The initiative aims to create an online resource for working jazz musicians with children, those contemplating parenthood, and jazz industry figures who work with and hire musicians who are parents. The insight of the musicians interviewed for this series provides valuable emotional, philosophical and logistical information and support that is easily accessible to all. “Mothers In Jazz” shines a light on the very specific role of being both a mother and a performing jazz musician

Canadian bassist and composer Jodi Proznick has been nominated twice at the Juno Awards. Her work both as bandleader and sideman has earned her a reputation as one of Canada’s finest jazz artists. As an educator, she is the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music Summer Jazz Workshop, and she co-founded “Music Arts Collective” with pianist Amanda Tosoff and arts administrator Francesca Fung. Jodi’s most recent project is “The Ostara Project,” all-star group featuring award winning Canadian women jazz artists including Allison Au and Rachel Therrien. She lives in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia with her husband, pianist Tilden Webb and their 13 year-old son.

Jodi Proznick. Photo credit: Michele Mateus

LondonJazz News: What is the best advice you received about balancing/juggling motherhood and career?

Jodi Proznick: You can have it all, but you might not be able to have it all at the same time.

LJN: What information or advice do you wish you’d received but didn’t (and had to learn through trial and error or on the go)?

JP: Don’t rush back to work. The months may feel like forever to you, but the scene moves so quickly that they won’t have even noticed that you were not doing much for a while. Get off the crazy work train, heal, rest and get to know your new little one. That investment pays off later.

LJN: Your top tip(s) for other mothers in jazz:

JP: Get your baby into a routine as soon as possible. Wake, feed, change, play, sleep so that the predictable schedule can be implemented with anyone, anywhere. Our son didn’t need me to be there all the time – he had a predictable routine that gave him a sense of calm stability. That was the best advice I received and it really paid off as our son got older.

LJN: Baby/child gear tips for travel/touring:

JP: Bring along the key items that create predictability. White noise machine, sleepytime books, swaddle, quilt, etc.

LJN: Best general travel/tour-with-child advice:

JP: If you can, bring along help or travel with your spouse/partner.

LJN: What has surprised you about becoming a parent and remaining engaged with your professional activities and ambitions?

JP: What surprised me was how inspiring my son has been to my artistic life. He is literally part of the whole process. Rediscovering this amazing planet through his eyes has been a revelation. He reminded me everyday how to live a life of wonder, curiosity and courage.

LJN: What boundaries have you set for yourself as a mother in jazz (could be related to travel/touring, riders, personal parameters, child care decisions, etc.)?

JP: My husband and I rarely leave town at the same time. That has been a sacrifice that has paid off enormously. If we decide to go out of town at the same time, I often bring help and take my son with me. This has led to some really wonderful memories for my son and I. It’s challenging, but totally possible. You have to be very flexible and open to creative ideas to make it work.

The Ostara Project” will release their debut album on Cellar Live in November 2022. The Canadian all-star group will feature the line up of Laila Biali (AB & BC dates), Shruti Ramani (Yukon dates), Virginia MacDonald, Allison Au, Rachel Therrien, Amanda Tosoff, Jodi Proznick, and Valerie Lacombe for their upcoming Western Canada Fall Tour (dates below).

4.11     Haines Junction, YT
5.11     Yukon Arts Center, Whitehorse, YT
10.11   Yardbird Suite, Edmonton, AB
11.11   Tune In-Tune Up Conference, Calgary, AB
12.11   Jazz YYC: Canadian Festival
13.11   Pyatt Hall, VSO SoM, Vancouver B.C

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LINKS: Jodi Proznick’s website
Music Arts Collective

The Ostara Project

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