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The Gig: Jazz’s Post-Masculine Era?

The long path to acceptance for female jazz musicians

Mary Lou Williams
Tillery (l. to r.): Gretchen Parlato, Becca Stevens and Rebecca Martin

I can recall the precise moment when I started to get a handle on jazz’s Post-Masculine Era. This is a slippery notion, easily misconstrued, so hear me out in full. The afternoon was bright and cold, and I was sitting in the upstate New York living room of singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin and bassist Larry Grenadier. We were gathered to discuss their lovely, hauntingly spare recent album, Twain (Sunnyside), but our conversation had followed a digression about New York jazz culture and how it had changed since their respective arrivals in the early ’90s, before they were married or even acquainted.

“It was very masculine,” Martin said of the scene at that time.

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