Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jazz and women

Clifford Johnson has complained that a woman considered jazz to be a male sexist genre, if you allow me to simplify his text a little bit. Well, yes, most feminists are sexist. ;-)

Well, I am not sure whether Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Carla Bley, Alice Coltrane, Hana Hegerová - one of the people in the 1966 Czech jazz opera "A Walk Worthwhile" (that Miloš Forman is just bringing to the traditionally classical Czech national theater!) -, Vlasta Průchová, Jana Koubková, or a Californian female string theorist whom I know (and who still likes jazz more than I do) would agree that women can't like jazz. I don't think so.

Instead, let me offer you a few compositions.

This is Jaroslav Ježek's 1928 classic, Bugatti Step. I was never good enough to play this one. Ježek was an extraordinary Czech composer, the third friend of Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich, two eminent Czech comedians from "The Liberated Theater" who became famous in the 1920s.

The composition above, resembling the inner workings of Bugatti, is so difficult that you won't easily find a free copy on the Internet that is flawless; try a string version (...) or YouTube anyway. Be sure that girls like to play Ježek's compositions, too, for example "Heaven on Earth" (Nebe na zemi).

A week ago, when we recalled Yuri Gagarin, we also linked to an MP3 file, "Honor to the Astronaut" (1961).

Try also numerous jazz bands on the streets of Prague.

Finally, Clifford should realize that the Czech president is, among the current leaders, the most enthusiastic fan of jazz - and the organizer of "Jazz on the [Prague] Castle". I hope that this will be enough for Clifford and others to join Klaus' fight against political correctness and against the global warming religion! :-)

Nevertheless, my answer to Clifford's main question is that I don't see any significant signal that would indicate that jazz is more anti-female than other genres. Men dominate the composition and instruments - but that's the case in other genres, too.

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