January 8, 2019

Liz Exell

Female jazz instrumentalists to be celebrated in Jazz Herstory events

Female jazz instrumentalists to be celebrated in Jazz Herstory events

<LONDON, 7th January 2019>

Jazz Herstory will host a new programme of live music events at Poplar Union in east London to celebrate female jazz instrumentalists. Thanks to a grant from Arts Council England, Jazz Herstory is also commissioning new works by the featured artists and creating audio and visual recordings of the new music to share with an online audience.

The initiative, launched in 2017, aims to address gender inequality in the music industry, where only 5% of jazz instrumentalists are women.* Jazz Herstory will host its first event on 17th January featuring Alexandra Ridout, winner of the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award 2016. Future events will feature Rosie Turton in February and Ms Maurice in March. This follows the success of Jazz Herstory's 2018 events and funding from Arts Council England.

On the need for female-led jazz events, Liz Exell, founder of Jazz Herstory, says, “Women are severely underrepresented as jazz performers, especially as instrumentalists. Research undertaken in 2016 by saxophonist, Issie Barratt, revealed that women make up only 5% of jazz instrumentalists in the UK*. Jazz Herstory was born out of an opportunity to redress the balance through a Jazz Promotion Fellowship programme that I attended, initiated by Issie Barratt and supported by Help Musicians UK. Jazz Herstory will help to change the representation of women as instrumentalists and support work to encourage younger generations of girls to engage with jazz music professionally.” Alexandra Ridout, a trumpeter and the first of the musicians featured in 2019, said “I think [Jazz Herstory is] an amazing celebration of music and women in a really positive way.”

Claire Gevaux, Director of Programme at Help Musicians UK, says, “We’re delighted that the legacy of the Jazz Promoters Fellowship has enabled Liz Exell to develop an innovative and inclusive opportunity for women in jazz to take the lead in performing, curating and developing online content which will have a demonstrable effect on the aspirations of future female jazz musicians. As a charity which offers catalytic support when it’s most needed, we look forward to watching this series grow into a strong, resilient and sustainable offer for women working in jazz and we encourage others to learn from the success of this approach.”

Jazz Herstory’s upcoming events, 7:30pm at Poplar Union, Cotall Street, Poplar, London, E14 6TL:

  • 17th January featuring Alexandra Ridout
  • 21st February featuring Rosie Turton
  • 21st March featuring Ms Maurice

Tickets available from www.poplarunion.com £7 advance, £9 on the door, £5 concession.

*5% of jazz instrumentalists are women source: https://spectator.us/jazz-dominated-men/