At the end of 2012 I was prompted to write to Jazzwise. I’m really pleased they published my letter in Jazzwise 171 and I hope it starts a debate and a louder voice for women in jazz, whether as artists, critics or fans. My letter is below. I would love to hear what you think.
I look forward to and enjoy your Albums of the Year (Jazzwise 170). I can find something to agree with in each of the lists of your nineteen correspondents, and there is food for thought leading to future purchases. But surely I am not alone with Nate Chinen in wondering where are all the female jazz critics? Might they have come up with different lists? Excellent music, and we have had a lot this year, requires robust as well as appreciative criticism of the same standard as the music it celebrates. The field of jazz criticism has become unbalanced from the changing jazz audience, and I find this unsettling, it lacks a female perspective. I don’t want to become alienated from the music I love when I read about it. I want to learn how to appreciate it in language I feel enthused by and which speaks to my heart as well as my head. I’m not saying that male critics do not understand this need for balance, but often there is an over-emphasis on a rational approach to criticism that feels cold. Sometimes you want to know what music feels like, and I think women may be able to do that as well as applying critical faculties to jazz. Hoping you can redress this imbalance in the coming year.