“Only god can make a tree…and only men can play good jazz,” wrote jazz critic George T. Simon in his 1967 book, “The Big Bands.” His quote all but summed up the consensus about female jazz musicians at the time.
It's a consensus that even today many jazz critics, enthusiasts and critics unfortunately still hold. Over a half century since George Simon dismissed the talent and artistry of female jazz musicians, the genre remains a nearly impervious boys club.
Now, a new initiative out of Berklee College of Music is asking: What would jazz sound like without patriarchy?
Farah Jasmine Griffin— William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University.