I am now focused on writing what may be a 20-30 page introduction to Women In Jazz. A few more interviews are scheduled for the book, I'm up to 31 at the moment and plan to stop somewhere between 33 and 35, and I am behind on transcribing a handful of interviews I've already conducted. However, I believe that focusing my energy on completing an introduction to the book is crucial at this stage of the project since once it is completed, the introduction will help put forth an argument to potential publishers for the book's very existence.
Writing the introduction is also allowing me the opportunity to discover and illuminate themes that have recurred over the course of conducting these interviews. I wouldn't have those themes without first having done over two years of research and interviews. Now that may sound backwards, but I didn't go into this project with any agenda other than to speak to musicians who happened to be women about, well, music. And yet strangely, especially given the diversity in age, musical style, and ethnic background among the 30 plus interviewees, some strong, recurring themes have emerged. I'll write more about all of this at a later date.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of interviewing electronic artist and percussionist Val Jeanty for the book. As a composer and musician who uses the laptop and recording studio as my main instruments, I felt it was very important to include an electronic artist among the book's interviewees. Born and raised in Haiti, Jeanty has collaborated and performed onstage with some incredible state-side jazz musicians, including Geri Allen, Craig Taborn, Steve Coleman, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Her own music is multi-layered, very painterly and very poetic, and often references Vodou as well as jazz music's ethnological roots. You can check out her work on Soundcloud as well as on her own website.