It was a bold move by Stonnington Jazz to program an all-female/non-binary performance for the Festival’s opening concert: War Cry. Jazz, like much else, has come in for its fair share of criticism in the #MeToo era, its historical icons – bar a few exceptions – made up mostly of male musicians. The issue was highlighted during the recent International Jazz Day Global Concert held in Melbourne, which, aside from singers, featured only one female instrumentalist amongst the forty or so musicians appearing. If it were just a numbers game, a case of positive affirmation, there would be room for debate. But the fact is, there is a wealth of female jazz artistry in this country – from elders like Sandy Evans, to mid-career artists like Andrea Keller, to emerging talents like Cheryl Durongpisitkul. Henceforth, festival programmers who ignore this issue will do so at their own peril.
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