Black Women Jazz Musicians Speak of Their Transitions During COVID-19

Stay-at-home orders have caused several months of shows to be canceled. No one knows if or when people will be able to gather again which doesn’t allow women in jazz an opportunity to plan for their future. “I do not expect things to go back to normal.  The life we were living is now over. We have to operate with a new understanding and connect to each other in an entirely different way,” Ebony continues.

Since the emergence of jazz music, women musicians have faced difficulties from both the world at large and within the culture. Misogynoir is a day-to-day experience for these women and because of this, they have to use their energy to create mindsets and philosophies to help them overcome the existence of sexist conflicts.  “I don’t try to focus too much on the “struggles”. Yes, there’s sexism, ageism, etc. I choose to remain positive and hopeful. Right now, we have to thank all the essential workers who are out here on the frontlines risking their lives every day,” says cellist and composer, Tomeka Reid.

If gone unchecked, the presence of the COVID-19 can widen the gender gap by draining the already limited resources women of color in jazz receive. Without their national and international tours, the ability to network and collaborate with like-minded musicians, there is a chance that more male musicians will emerge stronger by living off royalties from top-selling albums, for example. There are systems set up to ensure the success of male jazz musicians via better media exposure and promotions which push their musical products to the forefront. Continue reading “Black Women Jazz Musicians Speak of Their Transitions During COVID-19”

Feature ~ Regina Carter, Electoral Collage

FJR founder, Jordannah Elizabeth’s feature in The New York City Jazz Record‘s October 2020 Issue.

Music has been an encompassing presence in Regina Carter’s life since she was two years old. Her journey has been colored by the bowing of the violin, which she began playing at the age of four, and has allowed her to create a lifelong soundtrack to her unique journey. Carter is accomplished and has had a lengthy, successful recording career, which stands as a testament for her talent and love for people and collaboration. Throughout her career, she has been open to performing diverse genres as her musical talents have spanned across R&B, avant chamber music, funk and reimagined arrangements of traditional African music.

Her music has taken her all over the world but Carter, as of late, has taken on a duty and responsibility to use the platform she has earned from the fruits of her hard work and philanthropy to inspire people to engage with one another and their communities in America in a way that promotes unity. Her new album, Swing States: Harmony in the Battleground (Tiger Turn Productions-eOne) has a very specific purpose: to encourage as many people as possible to vote.

The Regina Carter Freedom Band consists of John Daversa (trumpet and flugelhorn), The Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader Jon Batiste (piano), Kabir Sehgal (bass and percussion), Alexis Cuadrado (bass) , Harvey Mason (drums) and guest tenor saxophonist Brian Gorrell. The aim for this album and all-star musical lineup may have initially been to make a clear and well-executed message of voting but, in the preparation for the release of the album, the world was afflicted with the COVID-19 pandemic and an international outcry of protests and demonstrations in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other Black people slain at the hands of the police. Carter’s concerns emerged long before the protests as she discovered the large numbers of people who did not vote in the 2016 election. “Voting is a civic duty and an extremely important responsibility, even more so now as we are living in surreal times…we have become a divided country of Red vs. Blue, Us vs. Them or Not Our Kind and that pot is starting to boil over,” says Carter. Continue reading “Feature ~ Regina Carter, Electoral Collage”