• Women in Jazz Media monthly news!

    22nd May 2022

    Welcome to our monthly team news! We like to share some of the work the team have been doing both inside and outside of their Women in Jazz media work and we have all been very busy as always.

     A little bit of general news about some of the projects we are currently working on. We are very excited about our very special event on June 4th in London, celebrating the work of our patron Maxine Gordon. All information and tickets are here, we do hope some of you will join us, it’s going to be a very special night!

    We are thrilled to announce Hannah Horton as a new member of the team! Having been the guest host for our ‘In Conversation With’ podcast series for a little while, we are very happy that Hannah will be no longer be the guest host and will lead on these podcasts. Stay tuned for some great conversations and guest! Hannah is also helping out behind the scenes with our June 4th event and is the MD for the Dexter Gordon set – can’t wait! Photo by Tatiana Gorilovsky

    Diana Torti shares with us that she is ‘So happy for this achievement! I'm a Vocal Health First Aider and I thank Vocal Health Education for such a great course and fantastic tutors! I highly recommend the path - it will give you a holistic approach to supporting your students with healthy and effective strategies for their voice. You never stop learning! Huge congratulations to Diana!

    Fiona Mactaggart as well as running her Scottish Jazz Space site and the brilliant new Jazz Forward projects, as recently reviewed Seonaid Aitken's latest album, Chasing Sakura for London Jazz News – you can read it here

    Together Diana and Fiona have been working tirelessly on our mental health projects and you can read their article published during Mental health Awareness week here

    Aurelie Freoua is taking the art and jazz world by storm! She is currently exhibiting at South Hill Park Art Centre - 'Feeling the Beat' alongside artist Chris Holley. All the artworks exhibited are related to jazz and created in the moment during live performances. Also, another exhibition coming up at the Yehudi Menuhin School alongside artists Chris Holley and Gwendolyn Kassenaar - Opening 26th of May and running until the 30th of June. 

    Kim has just published the first in a short series celebrating the life and legacy of one of the world's greatest saxophonists Dexter Gordon whilst shining a spotlight on some of the most exciting saxophonists on today's UK jazz scene. This series runs until a fabulous gig on 4th June presented by Women in Jazz Media celebrating the inspirational work of award-winning Arts Advocate, Jazz Historian, Archivist, Scholar, Manager and Producer Maxine Gordon. Read it here

    Kim Cypher is also working very hard behind the scenes on a brand-new project she will be launching soon! 'Brighter Tomorrow' - A Tribute To The Arts is a project Kim feels incredibly passionate about, celebrating all the amazing people who work in The Arts. At a time when Kim has never felt prouder to be a musician and part of an incredible community of like-minded creatives, she will be putting forward a project of her original music, video and photographs to celebrate a community driven by passion, commitment, compassion, willpower and determination, as demonstrated over the last couple of years when The Arts had to survive without 'live' performances with an audience. Despite this, the creativity continued, in fact it flourished and became more creative than ever. Kim will also be asking other creatives to join her in this project to celebrate their own contribution to The Arts. Further details on how you can get involved coming soon! Thank you to Ron Milsom for the photo!

    In the meantime, Kim is over the moon to be completing the project with recording and filming of an original song 'Tomorrow's Song' with one of her favourite UK jazz artists, the amazing Liane Carroll. Filming and recording will take place at prestigious London jazz venue The 606 Club next month. This is what happened the last time Kim and Liane joined forces at Guiting Music Festival in 2018: Video

    Ashaine White recently attended the Ivor’s Award in the celebration of her Rising star nomination. We are so excited for her future!!

    Jasna Jovicevic is busy touring with the brilliant project with Monika Herzig’s ‘Sheroes’. Looking forward to Jasna’s article in our next magazine exploring some of her research areas.

    Aydenne was a guest on our last podcast – a brilliant conversation! You can listen here. Aydenne is also busy working on some articles for our next magazine as well as performing to sell out shows with her Big Mama Trio. We are also excited to have Aydenne as our guest for our next 'Ladies That Do So Much More Than' event!

    Esther Bennett published her latest ‘Something New’ article talking to Tokunbo about her latest album. You can read it here. Esther is also busy gigging and working on a range of projects and is excited about her gig at Toulouse Lautrec ‘Looking forward to this gig where I will be performing original material from various recordings 2 of which were EPs produced during lockdown & in collaboration with Terence Collie & various other artists’. Tickets here

    Fiona Ross recently attended the XJAZZ festival in Berlin and interview with curator Natalie Greffel will be published soon. Fi has recently interviewed Cecilia Sanchietti and Ilaria Capalbo and is looking forward to her gig at Hampstead Jazz Club on June 10th.

    And last but not least, Wendy Kirkland was our guest at our recent 'Ladies That Do So Much More Than Lunch' event, which was incredible. Wendy is also busy preparing for her performance at our June 4th event, celebrating the music of Shirley Scott and planning her new podcast series!

    Thank you for reading our updates and please do always get in touch if you have any questions, comments or thoughts! Contact us here

  • Women in Jazz Media Playlist: Volume 13

    20th May 2022

    Our new Women in Jazz Media Playlist is now out: Volume 13. We publish a new playlist each month and try to share a wide range of women from across the world - new releases, legacy artists, new and established artists and also some women we think you should know about but maybe don't!  However, for this month, we wanted to share the artists involved in our special event on June 4th, Sophisticated Giants, which celebrates the work of Maxine Gordon. You will find Dexter Gordon, Shirley Scott, Velma Middleton, Maxine Sullivan and Melba Liston whose music we will be celebrating at the event, along with the incredible performers we have - Tony Kofi, Wendy Kirkland, Vimala Rowe, Emma Rawicz, Hannah Horton, Camilla George and Laura Impallomeni

    As always we would encourage you to buy directly from the artist where possible, and all the links are on our site here:

    Emma Rawicz Camilla George Wendy Kirkland Vimala Rowe Tony Kofi Hannah Horton Laura Impallomeni

    Dexter Gordon Shirley Scott Melba Liston Velma Middleton Maxine Sullivan

  • Mental Health Awareness Week: May 2022

    9th May 2022

    The Jazz industry is no stranger to mental health concerns and in fact, the creative industry, as a collective, has been rife with a whole range of artists struggling with their mental health throughout its history along with the misunderstandings, lack of support and stigma attached to it. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week championed by the Mental Health Foundation. Each year they focus on a different theme, with this year’s theme ‘tackling loneliness’:

    Together we can tackle loneliness

    For Mental Health Awareness Week this year, we're raising awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing and the practical steps we can take to address it.  

    Loneliness is affecting more and more of us in the UK and has had a huge impact on our physical and mental health during the pandemic.

    Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health and we need to find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness. We can all play a part in this.’


    One of the missions of Women in Jazz Media organisation, is to create a healthy and supportive environment for women who work in Jazz. Mental health issues are therefore one of the key areas. Keeping in mind that the Mental Health Foundation has announced "loneliness” as the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, which will run from Monday 9 May to Sunday 15 May, we are starting to make our contribution in conjunction with this important event.

    In April and May 2022, Fiona Ross met with team members Fiona Mactaggart and Diana Torti, to discuss how WiJM can best support mental health and wellbeing in the jazz industry world-wide.  This article is a brief summary of this conversation and is an introduction to the mental health and wellbeing-specific work of WiJM to come.

    We believe it is important to strive for a creative sector which is healthy, a safer place and with no significant barriers. Two levels of work by WiJM are foreseen:

    A practically oriented, quick response to help women in the jazz sector who feel isolated and unsupported.

    We plan to write articles, and conduct interviews with musicians who have had experiences they are willing to share. There may be issues that regularly arise, that turn out to be in fact experienced by many musicians. This initiative will hopefully help them feel a little less isolated, and instead feel part of a community.

    A long-term project aiming at building up and developing an alternative discourse regarding mental health issues in the creative arts sector, in particular in the jazz industry.  

    Our discussion was quite wide-ranging and in-depth. We agreed that there is a level of vulnerability specific to working as a musician. This is to do with several issues including our more exposed ‘internal world’, emotions and identity during the creative process. In effect we feel ‘naked’ when we create and perhaps even more so when we perform in front of an audience.

    Other issues relate to often unavoidable lifestyles, two examples being the frequent requirement to work late in the evening, and not being able to take a sick day off when we are ill should there be a gig booked.

    We noted that our profession is generally inexperienced in raising money in the business world or in using business models, which may have a negative impact on how others perceive us and our job.

    We thought about the widespread view of Artists as people who follow a ‘bohemian’ way of life and shared our common view that it would be helpful if this false perception can be transformed into a more positive image of Artists.  We are in fact highly trained, hard-working professionals, healthy, with the vast majority having no all drug or alcohol difficulties!

    We believe it is necessary to propose both the image of musicians who have had "bad" experiences, but also that of musicians who have had many positive experiences.

    So, over time we will present a series of diversified initiatives to raise public awareness on this delicate aspect of the profession of musicians, with a particular focus on women.

    We also hope to be able to make an effective and coherent contribution which can support those women who find themselves experiencing mental health and related difficulties and offer them ideas and suggestions.

    We hope all of this will constitute a constructive contribution to the jazz community. And we hope to help all of those affected feel less alone.

    Diana Torti and Fiona Mactaggart

  • New podcast series: Sticks and Thrones with Migdalia Van Der Hoven

    30th April 2022

    We are excited to be launching a series of new podcasts focusing on instrumentalists starting with ‘Sticks and Thrones’ with guest host Migdalia van der Hoven! Migdalia will be chatting a fantastic line up of drummers from across the world. Stay tuned for our first episode coming in May!

    Migdalia van der Hoven is an International Award-winning Mexican drummer currently touring with SIX the Musical across the UK. She is also a Vater Drumsticks, Bosphorus Cymbals and RTOM Corporation artist. She is a Berklee College of Music graduate (where she studied and performed with Jackie Santos, Terri Lynn Carrington, Victor Mendoza and Mark Walker). She is known for her groove, sensitivity and versa1lity across multiple genres such as funk, jazz, fusion, la1n jazz, pop and world music.

    Together with her latest project "The Migdalia van der Hoven Quartet", she launched her new EP "Girl Facing South" with a series of dates in and around London including the EFG London Jazz Fes1v- al 2021, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Toulouse Lautrec, Pizza Express Live and more. The EP comprises a mix of original and West Coast fusion tracks and has already received posi1ve reviews from Grammy Award winning ar1sts.

    Migdalia has performed in the UK with Scott Stroman, Adam Glasser, Grifter Kid and The Midnight Raiders, Russell Brand, Paul Ettinger (Caffe Nero), The All Souls Orchestra, Women in Jazz and on the BBC/ITV. She was part of the Beantown Jazz Fes1val in the USA and is currently a member of the Na- 1onal Jazz Orchestra of Mexico where she performs and also supports young women through scholarships to continue their studies in jazz. She also offers masterclasses internationally.

    Migdalia has more than 25 years of experience and she is currently associated with Women in Jazz Media, Caffe Nero and Talentbanq.

    Her latest EP (“Girl Facing South”) was launched at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in August 2021 and is now available on all digital platforms. She became the first Mexican Female drummer to ever per- form at Ronnie Scott’s and the EFG London Jazz Fes1val. Migdalia has become “Woman of the year 2022” in Mexico in arts and culture for her contribu1on in music na1onally and internationally.

    *Migdalia will perform at the Cornbury Fes1val 2022, Prom Praise at the Royal Albert Hall with the All Souls Orchestra and will be one of the UK judges for Hit like a Girl Contest 2022, which is the biggest female drum/beats contest worldwide.

    Migdalia van Der Hoven website

  • In Conversation with...Aydenne Simone

    30th April 2022

    In this special International Jazz Day episode we have tempted back special guest host, Hannah Horton who chats to Aydenne Simone – Big Mama!

     Aydenne has been dubbed ‘London’s Queen of Swing’ a badge she wears with pride and honour. The Big Mama Trio came about organically as ‘band trees’ do, but Mama wanted to have a band that ‘got her’, understood what proper jazz swing sounded like.  Mama wanted musicians that could swing like the clappers and she meant really swing! The most important thing for Aydenne was that her musicians played with authenticity, not just what was in front of them.  The history of jazz is about how it feels.  Feel something, don’t just play it.  One of Aydenne’s favourite composters is Duke Ellington who said “ If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good”. 

     The Big Mama Trio musicians play as if they were born in the wrong era, they play jazz as if they were born to, so it comes from the heart!.  Having been a jazz singer for nearly 30 years, to say the Big Mama Trio;  Olly Chalk, Tom Dring, and Gwilym Jones is the best jazz trio she has ever had is quite a statement, as she has worked with some super musicians over the years, but a statement she is willing to stand by.  Having been given a Sarah Vaughan album (‘You’re Mine You’ produced by Quincy Jones)  at the tender age of just six, quality jazz is in Aydenne’s DNA.

    ​Aydenne or ‘Mama’ says “ Olly, Tom & Gwilym just make jazz so real for me. Jazz for me is personal.  The most important thing about the Big Mama Trio is that each of them has authenticity, passion, and play with love and care.  The Big Mama Trio manages to deliver jazz at a level it should be played at,  with sheer quality, no snobbery, just authenticity, feeling and a depth of soul".

    A little background for you............Aydenne’s nickname actually came from a song she wrote ‘off the top of her head’ called ‘Mama told me’, which she performed at a wedding in Jersey C.I.) with her function band ‘Jazz Culture’.   Aydenne’s nickname  ‘Big Mama’ is not so strange, in African or Black culture ‘Mama’, ‘mummy’ or ‘Auntie’ is a mark of respect for women of a certain age.  Usually a matriarch or senior member of a community or family, it’s lovely!.    So, Aydenne being known as 'Big Mama' or just 'Mama is a nickname Aydenne  just loves! 

    Aydenne website

     Hannah is a British Female Jazz Saxophonist who’s music is rooted in jazz, folk and funk. She has performed with many great jazz artists including Ian Shaw, Amy Winehouse, John Etheridge, Tina May, Georgia Mancio, Polly Gibbons, Natalie Williams, Esther Bennett and Irene Serra; and at venues including Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express Dean St, The 606, The Pheasantry, Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Royal Festival Hall and The Barbican. She has also toured in Europe and USA with her own and other groups. Her latets album has been going down a storm across the world.

    “Hannah makes the big beast of a baritone sax sound like an angel” – Ian Shaw

    Hannah website

  • Maxine Gordon: Sophisticated Giants. A celebration of the inspirational work of award-winning legend Maxine Gordon.

    26th April 2022

    Maxine Gordon: Sophisticated Giants

     A celebration of the inspirational work of award-winning legend Maxine Gordon at Jazz Cafe Posk

    This incredible event features some of the most exciting saxophonists in the UK today, Hannah Horton, Camilla George, Emma Rawicz and Tony Kofi performing the music of Dexter Gordon along with a rare opportunity to celebrate the music of Shirley Scott, Maxine Sullivan, Velma Middleton and Melba Liston with UK’s leading jazz artists pianist Wendy Kirkland, vocalist Vimala Rowe and trombonist Laura Impallomeni. This special night also opens with a tribute to Dexter Gordon from J Steps, the fantastic new initiative in jazz led by UK jazz saxophonist Hannah Horton as part of Guildhall Young Artists, with its main aim being to tackle the historic lack of representation of women in jazz. Women in Jazz Media is a not for profit global organisation, founded by Fiona Ross that was created to support and create an equal, diverse, safe and healthy Jazz Industry. It was announced on International Womens Day, March 2022 that Maxine Gordon is their patron.

    Maxine Gordon is a force in her own right, advocating for the music and musicians in many capacities, as a partner, friend, manager, and scholar.’ All About Jazz

    Maxine Gordon is an award winning Arts Advocate, Jazz Historian, Archivist, Scholar, Manager & Producer and Legend. Author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, (which was awarded Book of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association) and forthcoming book, Jazz Quartette: Shirley Scott, Velma Middleton, Melba Liston, Maxine Sullivan. Maxine is the President of The Dexter Gordon Society, consultant at the Bronx Music Heritage Centre, Jazz Researcher at the Bronx African American History Project, archivist for The Dexter Gordon Collections, Library of Congress and so much more…

    June 4th's event sees a rare UK visit from Maxine Gordon and the Q&A session is not to be missed! The first part of the event is dedicated to her award winning book ‘Sophisticated Giant’ and her life with Dexter Gordon, with a special set of his music performed by an incredible line up of saxophonists, Camilla George, Tony Kofi and rising stars Emma Rawicz and Hannah Horton. The second part of the evening with pianist Wendy Kirkland, vocalist Vimala Rowe and trombonist Laura Impallomeni, explores the rarely heard music of Shirley Scott, Velma Middleton, Melba Liston, Maxine Sullivan, the focus of Maxine’s next book, Jazz Quartette.

    Doors open: 7.30

    J Steps: 8.30

    Emma Rawicz, Camilla George, Hannah Horton and Tony Kofi: 8.50

    Interval: 9.45

    Q&A with Maxine Gordon and Fiona Ross: 10.00

    Laura Impallomeni, Wendy Kirkland and Vimala Rowe: 10.30

    Tickets available here


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