Putting gender politics aside and inspiring the next generation of young female jazz musicians – Feature Project – SIMA Young Women In Jazz

The Australian Jazz music scene has remained relatively underground and somewhat underrepresented. Pioneers and success stories produced from our local scenes include internationally renowned improvisational experts The Necks with 18 albums in their back catalogue and a touring history which includes headlining the Sydney Opera House in 2016; James Morrison who not only founded his own Jazz institution the ‘James Morrison Academy of Music’ but also recently included performing at the White House for International Jazz Day in front of the president himself; and two time Grammy-Award nominated quartet Hiatus Kaiyote who are a force to be reckoned with on a global scale within the Neo-Soul Jazz scene and were also commissioned to write the theme song for The Hannibal Buress show.

That being said, these and other success stories pail in comparison to the amount of coverage other international acts within the genre receive, but why might ask when we have just as many outstanding players back home? Another problem on top of that is the gender balance within the genre as a whole. Rather than dwell on the politics of it all, we’re highlighting an amazing organisation actively and successfully working to change that. One of Australia’s most celebrated female saxophonists realised this issue over ten years ago and decided to found the Young Women in Jazz Workshop program. Her name is Sandy Evans.

Its impact has seen the establishment of innovative jazz groups like the all female Sirens Big Band, a growing national rollout of the program to WA and ACT, and encouraged more and more female students year-on-year to enrol for Jazz courses within the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The eight week program that runs between July and September sees students build their skills within the genre mentored by industry greats like SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association) Creative Director and bassist Zoe Hauptmann, founder Sandy Evans, guitarist Jess Green, and fellow saxophonist Gai Bryant just to name a few. The other crucial element of the course is that it encourages a communal atmosphere amongst fellow female players of all ages  and skill levels to build a strong foundation for future projects and the overall betterment of the industry.


If you’re thinking that you’re the kind of person interested in this sort of a project, then we have some good and some bad news….

The bad news is that the project wraps up for the year on the 21st of September. BUT there’s a lot of good news,

  1. There will be a showcase on that date of the participants work at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Cafe. It’s the perfect chance to see what the results of the program are in real time as well as meet the mentors to see if this is the project for you. This is an all age’s event too so bring everyone!
  2. You can tune in this Friday from 2PM to Take One for our chat with Zoe about the project.

We cover a little more about her experience growing up in a musical family, finding her way to playing Jazz Bass through her Miles Davis nerdom, and going a little more in depth into the course. She’ll also offer keen listeners some tips and tricks to the audition process to get you ready for your application in 2017. The full podcast for that will be available on the 21st of September.

While you’re waiting for that you can head to our Soundcloud account to catch our chat with Aussie singer/ pianist Sarah McKenzie. The podcast is also available on iTunes so that you can take it on the move with you. This Friday will see the second edition of the podcast released as part of this week’s Jazz meets Soul music with songstress Wallace.

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