Music is magical. It can set the tone for our day, cheer us up after a breakup, liberate us from the pressures of life and even empower us to make the world a better place.
One of my favorite genres is jazz, a variety of music that was born and raised in the United States, spawned its own era—the Jazz Age—and I dare say it was pivotal in laying the groundwork for any number of other musical genres, including America’s favorite: rock ’n’ roll.
That’s the power of music. To paraphrase one of my favorite female jazz singers, Dinah Washington: What a difference some jazz makes!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: Hundreds of Women
Did you know that during the 1930s and ’40s, hundreds of women musicians toured the country in all-girl jazz bands? There’s one fabulous film that highlights these women’s often-overlooked contribution to the world of music, and I highly recommend it for any music lover. The Girls in the Band, released in 2011, is a touching documentary that showcases the untold stories of female jazz and big-band instrumentalists breaking ground from the late 1930s to present day.
Thanks to these determined and talented women, who often endured hostility in the form of racism, sexism and diminished opportunities, they paved the way for generations of gifted women musicians to claim their rightful place in the world of jazz and beyond.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Tina Edwards, Founder and Producer of Jazz Standard
Noted by one jazz-focused publication as “one of the busiest people in the U.K. music scene,” today’s Woman to Watch, London-based Tina Edwards, is all about bringing jazz to the masses. A music journalist and broadcaster, Tina achieves this goal through Jazz Standard, a live radio show focused on introducing listeners to the musical genre with fun and accessible content.
While Jazz Standard features the best of jazz music from a variety of classics to modern standards, Tina also enchants her followers with interviews of key jazz musicians, videos, live-music sessions and a blog—all designed to inform and inspire a little bit of boogie-woogie.
Jazz Standard began simply as a radio show but, with a growing listener base, soon blossomed to include an array of content curated specifically for 25- to 35-year-olds—a generation Tina admits can be difficult to reach when it comes to jazz. And while she adores discussing music from an academic perspective, making the genre more relatable to young listeners (who may consider jazz just elevator music) means sometimes she converses about jazz in the same modern terms she uses for other genres, occasionally referring to “sick beats” instead of traditional music terminology about rhythm.
Some notable recent blogs and videos Tina posted on Jazz Standard tackle how the jazz genre is changing in the digital age and highlights women artists worthy of praise. And speaking of women, one particularly cool aspect of Tina’s Jazz Standard is that about half her audience is female.
This year, Tina is collaborating with music labels and other platforms, like Spotify. She’ll also be the proud frontwoman of a new campaign in the U.K. called Jazz100, which will encourage 100,000 people to check out a live jazz gig for the first time. Oh yeah, and she’s hosting and producing a new music show for British Airways.
Beyond jazz, Tina has some wicked broadcasting chops. Her interviews with musicians are always spot-on and knowledgeable. She offers three pieces of advice for women interested in working in media: First, talk to the camera like it’s your bestie, not your great aunt or your Tinder date. Second, exercise patience in your career journey. Lastly, find the niche you’re passionate about and run with it!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Here’s some fantastic advice from American jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln:
“The best thing you can do is to be a woman and stand before the world and speak your heart.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.