Female musicians don’t want to be “pretty good, for a girl.” They want to be awesome. Period.

Today is International Jazz Day (I’m throwing virtual confetti as I write this), and that means that Jazz Appreciation Month is almost over. It’s been a busy, jazz-filled month, and once again, I’ve been reminded how lucky I am to live in Seattle. Not only do we have an amazing scene, we have an amazing scene with dozens of incredibly talented women. Many of whom performed during last weekend’s first-ever Seattle Women in Jazz Festival. This was a wonderful event, a true act of love and devotion by its founder Jessica Davis.

That said, jazz festivals devoted solely to women have their pros and cons. Celebrations of women and their accomplishments are, on the whole, a good thing. As is bringing a greater awareness to the hardworking women amongst us. But they also risk marginalizing these same women. It’s far too easy to dismissively say (or think), “Oh, she’s just a ‘woman in jazz,’” then go hear your favorite male musician instead.​

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Jazz Appreciation Month, Seattle Style

April is already a week old, and I neglected to mention that it is Jazz Appreciation Month! I don’t really need another reason to celebrate anything and everything jazz, but JAM reminds me to take a moment to think about jazz, its history, and enduring legacy. And it reminds me that, as a lover of jazz, I am very lucky to live in Seattle. We have an unusually vibrant community of jazz musicians, students, and listeners plus a network of clubs, house concerts, festivals, jazz appreciation societies, record labels, and radio stations that all nurture our local scene. We can hear high-quality, live jazz every night of the week.

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