Joëlle Léandre calls out the French Jazz Establishment for Sexism and “Fogey-ism”

No one has ever accused Paris-based double bassist Joëlle Léandre of being a shrinking violet, or whatever the French equivalent may be. But recently, as The Free Jazz Collective and other media reported, she was so incensed by the results of 2017’s Les Victoires du jazz poll that named no one but males as winners, that she published an open letter on the subject. Translated from French, her note states that “Jazz doesn’t stop in 1950”. Discussing the creativity involved in making Jazz, she points to her 41 years of improvising, as well as her associations with, and the achievements of, other players like saxophonists Steve Lacy and Anthony Braxton; trombonist George Lewis; and pianist Marilyn Crispell. How do polls like this that still ignore women and the young or not-so-young innovators come about she asks?