Saturday, April 7, 2012

Women in Jazz Book Project

I am a full-time writer for Consumer Media Network and a music and arts columnist for CultureMap Houston. I've written for the Houston Press, Option Magazine, and the contemporary classical music blog Sequenza 21. In addition to writing, I co-host a monthly radio show on called "Composer Talk" with pianist and composer Hsin-Jung Tsai. I'm also active as a composer and arranger.

I especially enjoy interviewing musicians from the world of jazz in all its forms and permutations. My column and personal blog has featured conversations with pianist Bobby Lyle, saxophonist Mindi Abair, singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, guitarist Russell Malone, conga maestro Poncho Sanchez, New Orleans pianist Larry Sieberth, and saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts, to name just a few. It was my conversation with Mindi Abair that sparked my idea to compile a collection of my interviews with women who play jazz in all of its forms. The working title of the book is Women in Jazz.

Does such a book currently exist? There are plenty of books about jazz featuring men, and it is a genre that, in spite of the groundbreaking advancements several notable women, is dominated by a male worldview. So what about the women composing for and directing big bands? Or shred with the best of them in the world of jazz-fusion? Or proudly play a kind of music that is a hybrid of styles and influences and called "jazz" just for the sake of a label?

I imagine a young musician, girl or boy, somehow coming across this proposed book and finding information and inspiration they didn't find before. Before that day comes, I look forward to and will enjoy, contacting women across the field of jazz and asking them to participate. The questions will focus on the nuts and bolts of building a career in music, so that the information practical as well as enlightening. One friend, a publicist, jokingly suggested I subtitle the book "Beyond the hair!"

This blog will document the book project as it comes together. I appreciate your stopping by, and hope you'll come back as I update this space with news and exclusive content.


Chris Becker

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