Hello everyone, it’s great to have you back from another sweet weekend excursion. For years the question has and continues loom within our heads about where are the female instrumentalist in jazz? I think back to the early seventies and recall the immense talents of Patrice Rushen, Bobbi Humphrey, Hilary, Lesette Wilson and soon thereafter emerged the talented Sheila E. Terri Lyne Carrington, Rachel Z, Cindy Blackman, Eliane Elias, Regina Carter, Hiromi and of course a host of others.
In the meantime, we’ve been nudged as a reminder to listen and to pay homage to a few gifted female instrumentalist. Perhaps, most of you have already been blessed by the music of these talented ladies listed below. However, we gladly extend and invitation to you to recommend artist you think are noteworthy to other jazz lovers. We appreciate and thank you in advance for your generosity.
Tia Fuller – Healing Space
An uplifting spirit ignites Healing Space from the get-go on “Breakthrough,” a bristling post-Motown bop excursion that not only highlights Fuller’s bold and sassy alto tone and serpentine-like improvisations but also her invigorating interaction with her band mates, especially trumpeter and label-mate Sean Jones, who has featured her on his three Mack Avenue discs, Roots, Gemini, and Eternal Journey. Her sanguinity sparkles on the following “Just a Journey,” a billowing mid-tempo groove, written by her sister Shamie Fuller-Royston, that shows that Fuller is just as commanding on the soprano saxophone as she is on alto. Fuller pulls another gem from big sis’ songbook with the R&B-laden ballad “Ebonics,” a tune that would fit nicely on a sophisticated, yet young-minded jazz radio format geared towards jazz listeners of the hip-hop generation. Except for the gentle and evocative “The Olive Leaf and Dove,” written by Shamie and her drummer husband Rudy Royston, the remaining compositions are originals. – Amazon.com
Esperanza Spalding – Esperanza
“Esperanza,” bassist/vocalist/composer Esperanza Spalding’s debut on Heads Up International, is set for worldwide release on May 20, 2008. Armed with uncanny instrumental chops, a siren voice that spans three languages, and composing and arranging skills that weave together the best elements of the old-school with the progressive, this 23-year-old has crafted a debut album that takes a completely fresh and refreshing approach to jazz by borrowing from the rich traditions of soul, pop, world music and so much more. “All of us had the same intentions in the studio. Everybody really gave everything we could give, because we really wanted it to be the best that it could possibly be. It was like a family affair. There are things on there that you’ll dig if you’re a jazz listener, and things you’ll dig if you’re not a jazz listener. That’s the objective – to serve as many people as possible with the music.” – Amazon.com also, Esperanza Spalding
Gail Jhonson – Pearls
Born and raised in the city of Philadelphia, Gail Denise Jhonson began piano lessons in elementary school at age 10. Proving to be a gifted student she advanced quickly and played her 1st gig’s at age 14 playing organ with numerous local Funk and R&B bands. On her musical pursuit, by 18 she enrolled into Berklee College of Music and later received a B.A. in composition. Returning home, as a “jazz pianist”, Gail performed with several jazz bands, and other popular Philadelphia artists. She left Germantown in 1985, with her keyboard strapped on and landed an audition with Morris Day (of the “TIME”). She eventually moved to Los Angeles to make her dream career come true! – WEbMac.com
Jessy J – Tequila Moon
From the moment Jessy J hit the stage in Fresno, California for the first time as a member of super producer/guitarist Paul Brown’s live band on Valentine’s Day 2006, the love between the saxophonist/vocalist and contemporary jazz fans has been flowing nonstop. Jessy’s sizzling mix of hot beats, Latin and samba rhythms and sensuous melodies is quickly catching fire at radio, as the title track was one of the most added smooth jazz tracks immediately upon its release in January. The multi-talented Portland, Oregon born, Hemet, California raised performer draws her inspiration naturally from several unique musical wellsprings, beginning with her Mexican-American heritage. – JessyJ.com
Ragan Whiteside – Class Axe
Flutist, vocalist, and songwriter, Ragan Whiteside is taking the Contemporary Jazz world by storm. With her unique style and soulful vibe, this triple threat is bringing the flute back into mainstream focus.
“She not only has THE silkiest and sweetest flute tone in the business, but her tenacity and desire to be recognized in Urban, New-Soul AND Smooth Jazz genres makes her a musical force to be reckoned with!! Mark my words!” – Bob Baldwin | RaganWhiteside.com