JSngry

Let's Reopen Old Wounds!

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So a psychiatrist said that there is a strong male identity to jazz forums and the members feel threatened by females.

Comments?

Might be. There is the locker room thing to do with the "gorgeous babes" posts which certainly is threatened by women's presence. But then, on the other hand, there is a kind of civilised thing - to do with a fair degree of restraint with which people go at each other. Women are generally reckoned to have a "civilising" influence in social situations.

There is no doubt that Jazz is a kind of "male" lake - and historically that has been built on a fair degree of sexism. I know when I've brought up the subject people have got uneasy, but one can hardly deny that Jazz is one of the most "male" of all the arts. Certainly compared to classical music or pop - with their numerous female stars - the difference is most striking.

You know, Jim maintains this place is like a bar - and it's his forum. But then, when a woman walks into a bar that's kind of different from when a woman goes into a coffee shop.

I think Jazz needs to change to survive. I'd say that change would involve women (substantially).

Or not.

Simon Weil

I disagree with you.

Tough jazz players were traditionally males, but we had great female singers, now things are changed. Like everythings as well.

I think this is true, but probably not in the way you mean it. In society at large you now get a "glass ceiling" to prevent women, in anything other than smallish numbers, reaching the very top in their professions. Now you can argue that no such ceiling exists in Jazz, but still there are very few women at the absolute top.

Jazz is quite young compared to other forms of art, so if you think at writing or painting you should remember that women struggled for years to gain a recognition. If jazz is born as "brothel music" is not surprising that it takes, and will takes, more time to include women. In the early years of theater acting were considered a disdaining job, and actor and actress were assimilated to thieves and prostitutes.

Well, if you want, to take an offshoot of Jazz - Euro-free improv. My observation is that it is a substantially more women-friendly zone than Jazz itself. I'm thinking about a festival in London in 2001 in particular - maybe 1/4+ of the performers were women, likewise the audience. How do you explain that in terms of the youth of the form? I don't think you can - it's younger than Jazz (evidently). I think it's a vibe thing. Women (e.g. Joelle Leandre) pick up that this is a relatively friendly cultural place and go there.

Classical music is totally different because, historically, learning an instrument was part of the "good education" of a young girl in a bourges family of XIX century. So it was socially accepted that a woman like Clara Schumann played at public concerts.

Right, so I guess your argument would be that when society became more open for women there was already a backlog of competence amongst women - and thus plenty of females available to take the new opportunities in classical. But the fact is more than half the members of (American) school Jazz bands are female(I've mentioned this before). So you currently have just this vast backlog of competence amongst American females in Jazz and zippo (or nearly so) result in Jazz as a career.

Early rock music was male oriented, as well, and women were usually singers. No Erika Clapton or Johanna Lennon or Fran Zappa in the line up of classic rock bands.

I agree with you on that.

And, frankly, some of the today's females pop stars are often quite offensive in their exposure of sexuality, is another form of sexism IMHO, for sure Shakira or Britney got a lot of money, but the issue don't change in its term.

Well, alright. Let's take Madonna, who I happen to hate. She sort of became emblematic of pop in the 80s. People read all sorts of deep post-modern meaning into the stuff. Gawd know how much of it is true. I don't. But the key point is she became an absolute central figure in pop. AND YOU JUST DON'T GET THAT IN JAZZ. You can argue that she's sexually off or full of it or whatever you like. But the fact once you get that in a form, a woman a key and central figure, you can't go back. Floodgates open.

If you are referring to the public listeng to jazz, in my experience, women usually aren't big consumers of music. They never were, a part some things like Beatles Mania and few others cases. Mostly they are more interested in Literature or Movies, though I meet women at gigs. Usually I found much more women in book shops then in records shops.

But, on the other hand, take my coffee shop vs bar comparison. Jazz is a pretty staple background music for coffee shops, not so for bars. Yet coffee shops look to me the more female friendly environment. What does that prove. Nothing neccesarily. Or maybe it does prove something.

Beatles mania was an opportunity for girls to let their hormones loose. Absolutely bloody terrifying for an 11year old. And of course you still get that with "boy bands" etc.. Not quite the same thing as women going to a jazz gig or chatting away with Jazz in the background (though, mind you that flavour of the month Brit light-Jazz vocalist might benefit from it, to some degree).

BTW Jazz is a small niche in the market, and things will not change even if women will become more interested in it. IMHO obviously.

I think it would stop Jazz looking quite so insular.

Simon Weil

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So a psychiatrist said that there is a strong male identity to jazz forums and the members feel threatened by females.

Comments?

Might be. There is the locker room thing to do with the "gorgeous babes" posts which certainly is threatened by women's presence. But then, on the other hand, there is a kind of civilised thing - to do with a fair degree of restraint with which people go at each other. Women are generally reckoned to have a "civilising" influence in social situations.

There is no doubt that Jazz is a kind of "male" lake - and historically that has been built on a fair degree of sexism. I know when I've brought up the subject people have got uneasy, but one can hardly deny that Jazz is one of the most "male" of all the arts. Certainly compared to classical music or pop - with their numerous female stars - the difference is most striking.

You know, Jim maintains this place is like a bar - and it's his forum. But then, when a woman walks into a bar that's kind of different from when a woman goes into a coffee shop.

I think Jazz needs to change to survive. I'd say that change would involve women (substantially).

Or not.

Simon Weil

I disagree with you.

Tough jazz players were traditionally males, but we had great female singers, now things are changed. Like everythings as well.

I think this is true, but probably not in the way you mean it. In society at large you now get a "glass ceiling" to prevent women, in anything other than smallish numbers, reaching the very top in their professions. Now you can argue that no such ceiling exists in Jazz, but still there are very few women at the absolute top.

So what? Jazz is not coming from Alpha Centaury, brought by an alien culture of Amazons, and males didn't steal it. I am ready to admit that your statement is true, tough is very much more true in some countries ten others. Latin countries, Italy included (as well US), has a small number of women at the top, that is quite different in Northern Europe countries.

Jazz is quite young compared to other forms of art, so if you think at writing or painting you should remember that women struggled for years to gain a recognition. If jazz is born as "brothel music" is not surprising that it takes, and will takes, more time to include women. In the early years of theater acting were considered a disdaining job, and actor and actress were assimilated to thieves and prostitutes.

Well, if you want, to take an offshoot of Jazz - Euro-free improv. My observation is that it is a substantially more women-friendly zone than Jazz itself. I'm thinking about a festival in London in 2001 in particular - maybe 1/4+ of the performers were women, likewise the audience. How do you explain that in terms of the youth of the form? I don't think you can - it's younger than Jazz (evidently). I think it's a vibe thing. Women (e.g. Joelle Leandre) pick up that this is a relatively friendly cultural place and go there.

Again so what? Are we arguing about the past? Please define what is jazz for you today. I mean that if we are referring to the Blue Note golden era, this is useless, they lived in a more sexist time, society was what it was. In Italy, and in Rome I attend at gigs where women is more or less the percentage you mention, and is it called "Jazz", maybe is not Dexter Gordon or Miles Davis, but it's played in well renowed jazz venues, and attended by "jazz" listener.

Classical music is totally different because, historically, learning an instrument was part of the "good education" of a young girl in a bourges family of XIX century. So it was socially accepted that a woman like Clara Schumann played at public concerts.

Right, so I guess your argument would be that when society became more open for women there was already a backlog of competence amongst women - and thus plenty of females available to take the new opportunities in classical. But the fact is more than half the members of (American) school Jazz bands are female(I've mentioned this before). So you currently have just this vast backlog of competence amongst American females in Jazz and zippo (or nearly so) result in Jazz as a career.

Edited by porcy62

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Hi Bill!

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Not to rehash this thing, but I find this part really objectionable:

I talked to a psychiatrist who was an expert in the field of jazz and communities. He told me there is a strong male identity to jazz communities and they feel threatened by females. Certainly in this community and for most of Blue Notes' traditional base, it is a male dominated world, not only in the fan base, but in the artists represented by the label as well. So, imagine what happened when its first million seller was not only female, but of questionable jazz pedigree. Welcome to Norah Jonestown.

Yeah, there are a lot of males here but the distaste for Norah that was expressed had nothing to do with her ovaries and everything to do with the fact that her music didn't fit very well on the label because of its low jazz content.

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I still think Blue Note made a major mistake in alienating the core of their fanbase. Also, seems like that forum was a voice the BN execs listened to in help guiding their reissue program to a degree. I hope this doesn't sound self-serving. Since the arrival of Norah and the closing of the forum....the old BN reissue program has just gone down imho. The discontinuing of Rare Grooves alone makes me wish for the good ol' days of the BN Forum, when we had the ear of the guys in the office.

...oh yeah, and the new Blue Note Site sucks, anybody try to navigate that jumbled mess. The old design was so eye-appealing and easy to use. BN drops the internet ball again.

Edited by Soul Stream

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Well,

I just joined the forum today and it is interesting to see an old article of mine get so much attention. Interesting discussion.

Bill

How about writing a follow up, telling the story of how the "Blue Note Mob" rose from the ashes, crushing every thing in it's path ('cept the women folk, of course) and landed on planet Organissimo?

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What? You spare the women?

blazin2.jpg

I thought it was the "Blue Note Street Team." :)

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Quick observation: the whole "classical" scene is still pretty closed to women musicians, especially if they play instruments that aren't somehow or other viewed as "feminine" or "women's instruments" or whatever (flute, cello, violin, viola, piano, concert harp, etc.).

There were all kinds of problems when the NY Philharmonic 1st started hiring women musicians, and there's still a boy's club atmosphere in many, many places.

How many women conductors can you name? Here in the US, Marin Alsop is one of the few that springs to mind.

The glass ceiling isn't exclusive to jazz by any means.

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Hi, Bill. Pleased to meet you!

I think it's interesting, and worthy of in-depth analysis and discussion, that almost all message boards I know of are predominantly male. I have no objection to pointing this out or to airing the grievances of women who feel there is an "old boys' club" atmosphere to many message boards that excludes them. However, your paragraph hastily tosses this out:

"I talked to a psychiatrist who was an expert in the field of jazz and communities. He told me there is a strong male identity to jazz communities and they feel threatened by females."

Some unidentified expert tells you that jazz communities feel threatened by females. OK, he told you that and you told the readers that he told you that. Fine, it's all very above board. But it's meaningless. With no evidence, no explanation, no history, it breezily implies that jazz boards specifically, and the Blue Note board in particular, are bastions of male chauvinism and that's why Norah Jones was greeted with skepticism.

Cassandra Wilson is a woman on Blue Note who met with considerable success and wasn't booed or dismissed. Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Anita O'Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Sheila Jordan, Dinah Washington, and also Mary Lou Williams, Terri Lynn Carrington, Matana Roberts, Ingrid Jensen, Maria Schneider, Toshiko Akiyoki... not necessarily Blue Note, but all women whom even a male jazz audience would be unlikely not to take seriously.

So I think the real problem, to the extent that there was one, is just that that your article included a big, unexamined generalization at the expense of the Blue Note board members. And it still rankles some of them, obviously! I didn't come along until after the fact so I'll now go back to sitting this one out. ;-)

Edited by Tom Storer

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Bill,

Tom says it pretty well above but to put it in my own words, My objection has nothing to do with whether or not music or jazz discussion boards are dominated by men. I'd be an idiot to contend that they aren't. My objection has to do with the presumption that whatever venom was expressed toward Norah had anything to do with that. The objection was based on the light jazz content of her smash hit record. The inappropriateness of her being on Blue Note was shown by the appearance on the site of all of her new fans, none of whom could have identified Alfred Lion and if they had heard "Song for My Father" they would have presumed that Horace Silver stole the opening from Steely Dan.

Your comparison to the perceptions of the "top trumpet player" is meaningless, because Norah Jones wasn't run off of the Blue Note BB. But the experience here is that we tend to run off rude people, not women.

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My objection has to do with the presumption that whatever venom was expressed toward Norah had anything to do with that. The objection was based on the light jazz content of her smash hit record. The inappropriateness of her being on Blue Note was shown by the appearance on the site of all of her new fans, none of whom could have identified Alfred Lion and if they had heard "Song for My Father" they would have presumed that Horace Silver stole the opening from Steely Dan.

Very good point. :D

Norah Jones is pop. Not jazz. That's all.

If the "powers that be" at BN feel they need to stick that "Jazz" tag on her because it's chic and elevates her "music" to a higher, more sophisticated level that sells better that way then we might well be in for another "smooth jazz" debate (except that this time it's not about instrumental music, obviously).

This will be interesting to watch indeed... :D

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But the experience here is that we tend to run off rude people, not women.

Indeed. You won't find a more close-knit "band of brothers," IMHO. And while it is true that we are a predominantly male bunch, all you have to do is ask Rachel, Patricia, Maren, and the couple of other women on this board who's names escape me: we treat our chicks with a lotta class. :g;)

(Note to the humor-impaired: the above was a joke. Hell, if it wasn't for the aforementioned ladies, I daresay there wouldn't be any class in this place. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing ;), but they do add some grace and beauty to this place that no male could ever bring. That, and they're hot, too! :wub: )

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The heartfelt respect and admiration for many female jazz artists expressed by the members of this forum dispells any boys' club mentality as the reason for criticism directed at Norah Jones. One need only search for threads about Mary Lou Williams or Shirley Scott or Carla Bley or Dorothy Ashby or June Christy...the ladies clearly get respect here when respect is due. Sure, we're mostly dudes and dudes will be dudes, but sexism doesn't play a role in the way we listen.

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I guess I don't understand why they put Al Green or Norah Jones on the Blue Note imprint. The label has a legendary jazz history...why muddy the waters? Al Green is the man...but can't the EMI umbrella find a more fitting label? Same with Norah.... I think that's really the issue here. If Led Zeppelin reunited under the Blue Note label, would that be cool? :blink:

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I've really had it with genres. I used to keep my collection organized by genre, but I've dropped all such distinctions and let everything co-mingle. So, in answer to your last question, I don't think I would have a problem with a reunited Zeppelin recording for Blue Note...

There's a record store here in town that refuses to seperate the CDs by genre. So you have to go from A-Z of every conceivable kind of music to "browse." There's a reason there are genres, because it's a practical application. Play me a record, and I could tell you a genre it belongs in. I don't care what people want to pretend. There ain't nuthin' new under the sun. No matter how genre-bending an album might be it still fits somwhere. Music is music at it's heart.... But Paleaaase, when I want to find something, give me a reference point. Blue Note is one of the greatest and only pure jazz labels in history. EMI is so big they could put any artist on any imprint...why does it matter to them. I think it just damages the brand, to put it in marketing terms which is, like it or not, what we're REALLY talking about here. It's not music to these people, it's product.

Just curious - do they file classical CDs mixed in with everything else by composer, by performer, or ?

It sounds like browsing there could be fun, assuming that I had a lot of time to spend.

He's talking about Waterloo, and they do separate classical, blues and "ethnic" music. Jazz, rock, and pop CDs are all mixed together though. Oddly, I guess, the vinyl IS separated entirely by genre, though there's not much to begin with.

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See....I never got the whole we hate Norah Jones and it ain't jazz thing.

I have to say I have always ....and I mean this honestly even though I registered on THAT website as Norah Jones for a laugh at the over the top remarks ..always liked her music some of it is a little jazzy some of it ain't. I always thought it was healthy for Blue Note to have her in however since then the men in grey suits have moved in to make even more bucks so perhaps it did not work according to plan

I think she is a very good performer but that does not interfere with my listening to Andrew Hill or Lee Morgan.

and lets face it there are some awful singers out there...be they jazz singers or not....by the way I usually turn off jazz vocals...save a little Billie Holiday or Ella.

So leave her alone.....

Or else :cool:

Edited by andybleaden

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Yeah, I've always been in the "if she makes more money for Blue Note, we'll get more reissues" camp.

Edited by Noj

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Mind you this is a great idea for a thread.....its like having family over at XMas all over again and having the same old rows

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"The objection was based on the light jazz content of her smash hit record."

Was there a similar objection raised when Herbie Hancock was doing duets with Christine Aguilara and doing homage to Joni Mitchell albums, or when George Benson started doing Leon Russell covers, or Creed Taylor got hold of Wes Montgomery and put him out as a pop artist, adding strings to his live version of Willow Weep for Me?

Last time I checked none of those people were recording for Blue Note.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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No but I can think of a whole lot more horrible releases I have heard with a Blue note sticker on and so can you. She is not the most direct link I can think of to Horace Silver ok but then neither were a few other other nice LPs I got rid of ...strings and voices usually are not the largest part of my Blue Note collection.

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"The objection was based on the light jazz content of her smash hit record."

Was there a similar objection raised when Herbie Hancock was doing duets with Christine Aguilara and doing homage to Joni Mitchell albums, or when George Benson started doing Leon Russell covers, or Creed Taylor got hold of Wes Montgomery and put him out as a pop artist, adding strings to his live version of Willow Weep for Me?

Last time I checked none of those people were recording for Blue Note.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

As Dan stated, none of those were BN artists when those works came out. If we had all been denizens of the Verve board (which didn't last long) or something, perhaps we'd have voiced objections when Hancock started doing the pop collaborations. I think alot of us have voiced objections about the pop collaborations for that matter.

However, all three of your examples were all originally jazz artists (Hancock, Benson, & Montgomery), which is completely unlike Norah Jones when she had her debut recording released on BN.

I still don't mind her music, but didn't feel at the time that it suited the BN label. Manhattan or one of the other affiliated labels maybe. Looking back now, it's easy to see that they got into the pop/R&B stuff after their success with Norah - Anita Baker, Amos Lee, The Birds and the Bees, etc.

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"The objection was based on the light jazz content of her smash hit record."

Was there a similar objection raised when Herbie Hancock was doing duets with Christine Aguilara and doing homage to Joni Mitchell albums, or when George Benson started doing Leon Russell covers, or Creed Taylor got hold of Wes Montgomery and put him out as a pop artist, adding strings to his live version of Willow Weep for Me?

Last time I checked none of those people were recording for Blue Note.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

But to answer Bill's question: yes, there was criticism of them (or at least of Herbie's duet with Xtina). But none of them (with far more legit jazz credentials than Norah, whom I like btw) had anywhere close to Jones' instant success. And despite what you may think - or were told - the "objections" to Norah on the BN board were by no means unanimous.

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........and Dianne Reeves from the 80's, L Rawls,

While I am on the subject....reminds me how despite a killer opener track ...just how bad Freddie Roach's All that's good was

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"The objection was based on the light jazz content of her smash hit record."

Was there a similar objection raised when Herbie Hancock was doing duets with Christine Aguilara and doing homage to Joni Mitchell albums,

Yes, but since Organissimo aren't doing the very same thing, it did not have an effect on the board content or the survival of the board community.

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"The objection was based on the light jazz content of her smash hit record."

Was there a similar objection raised when Herbie Hancock was doing duets with Christine Aguilara and doing homage to Joni Mitchell albums, or when George Benson started doing Leon Russell covers, or Creed Taylor got hold of Wes Montgomery and put him out as a pop artist, adding strings to his live version of Willow Weep for Me?

Last time I checked none of those people were recording for Blue Note.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

But to answer Bill's question: yes, there was criticism of them (or at least of Herbie's duet with Xtina). But none of them (with far more legit jazz credentials than Norah, whom I like btw) had anywhere close to Jones' instant success. And despite what you may think - or were told - the "objections" to Norah on the BN board were by no means unanimous.

To dump on Herbie a bit more, several members have stated very vehemently that his last show in Chicago (the opener to the Chicago Jazz Fest) was the worst jazz show they've ever seen in their lives. So I think actually the criticism is fairly gender-neutral. Personally, I don't hate Norah, nor do I go out of my way to listen to her. I do think her success has taken Blue Note down the wrong path.

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hmmm the question is ...would the grey suits and corporate boys have ruined Blue Note despite what they saw after after N Jones success story. ...

I will put it another way

It was a long time since I bought a New artist release on Blue Note...like since Jimmy Smith and Stanley Turrentine did stuff in the late 80's....no...tell a lie I did get a Charlie Hunter record and the US3 stuff

How does that figure

I was given some Orphy Robinson which stays unplayed

Nothing they have done recently has been of interest ( new stuff new material)

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