bar_big image

Nice Work If We Can Get It: Women Writing on Jazz

Angelika Beener
Contributing Writer
angelikabeener[at] / @alternate_takes

An Open Letter, A Thank You Note, and Pulling the Card On Jazz Journalism and Gender Bias

I’ve never really been one to write rebuttals, or counter-statements to articles that have peaked my interests or plucked at my sensitivities. However, when I read music journalist Nate Chinen’s recent piece on the lack of women writing critically about jazz, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. Not to rebut (he’s actually a strong proponent for female journalists, and a thoughtful querier of why there is such inadequacy in the field), but to offer my perspective in hopes of shedding some light on the matter. Characteristically, all of the responses to Chinen’s article (so far) have been from men, underscoring his point. The male response has been positive and in line with Chinen, agreeing that the lack of female jazz critics is not only fundamentally disturbing, but a disservice to the documentations and observations of jazz as a whole. I concur. I don’t suppose that I can diagnose the entire problem; it’s an intensely layered and webbed subject. But as a woman, a writer, and a jazz obsessor, I can certainly put my hand on a few maladies.