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Jazzwomen by Wayne Enstice and Janis Stockhouse

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Jazzwomen features 21 female jazz musicians talking about themselves and their music: Marian McPartland’s tours during World War II and her subsequent life in jazz, how players like Regina Carter got by during the lean years and why Maria Schneider’s upbringing in a backwater burg in Minnesota adds insight to our perception of the artist who came later.

The authors also get a gold star for emphasizing instrumentalists, which are still underrepresented in most band chairs, and the give-and-take of the Q&As is a format that I often prefer to reading analysis because we get the info straight from the horse’s mouth. This is particularly poignant during the chapter on Teri Thornton: The three interviews spaced over several years are a historical godsend that enables us to ride the peaks and valleys of her life and career up until she loses her battle with cancer.

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