Vanity Fair Discovers that Women Play Jazz

With great fanfare – and about two decades too late – Vanity Fair magazine discovers there are a whole bunch of women playing Jazz. Writer Abigail Jones does outline the music’s long history of sexism and reputation as an exclusive boy’s club where club owners and fellow players are still surprised that a woman plays rather than sings. Pointing to more gender-free jam sessions and increase in female enrollment in formal jazz-study hubs, she reports on some improvements in her interviews with those on the scene, though the focus here is still on “the freshest faces of 21st-century jazz: women instrumentalists who have sizzle right now”. The list of hair and manicure stylists at the article’s end doesn’t much help defining existing situation, nor do some of the more flowery photos included. But at least glossy mag readers are introduced to among others, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, pianist Kris Davis, arranger Maria Schneider and guitarist Mary Halvorson, the last of whom has some of the piece’s most trenchant comments.