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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

An overview of female ensembles at the occasion of Hearth's release of Melt

(Marilyn Mazur's Shamania - uncredited picture)

By Stef Gijssels

With Hearth, a new female ensemble saw the light of day. In fact, all-female jazz bands are rare, except for occasional duo performances. 

"Les Diaboliques", the trio with Joëlle Léandre, Irene Schweizer and Maggie Nichols was among the first in the early 90s, I guess, a deliberate choice to show and to encourage the female perspective in modern music. 

Here are some more all-women ensembles that are larger than duo performances. The strong presence of Nordic bands is evident. 

  • Magda Mayas, Annette Krebs and Anthea Caddy on "Thread"
  • Lotte Anker, Marilyn Crispell and Marilyn Mazur on "Poetic Justice",
  • Lotte Anker with Sylvie Courvoisier and Ikue Mori on "Alien Huddle'
  • Sylvie Courvoisier, Joëlle Léandre and Susie Ibarra on "Passaggio"
  • Lisa Ullén, Nina De Heney and Okkyung Lee on "Look Right"
  • Rachel Musson, Naoko Saito, and Audrey Lauro on "The Region Of Braille Respiration"
  • Marilyn Mazur's Shamania with Lotte Anker, Josefine Cronholm, Sissel Vera Pettersen, Hildegunn Øiseth, Lis Wessberg, Makiko Hirabayashi, Ellen Andrea Wang, Anna Lund, Lisbeth Diers and of course Marilyn Mazur. 
  • Great Waitress with Magda Mayas, Laura Altman and Monica Brooks: "Lucid" and "Flock";
  • Lauroshilau with Pak Yan Lau, Audrey Lauro and Yuko Oshima on "Live At Padova"
  • Anna Högberg Attack with Anna Högberg, Elsa Bergman, Anna Lund, Lisa Ullén, Elin Larsson, Malin Wättring on their self-titled debut album "Anna Högberg Attack"
  • Shitney with Maria Faust, Karine Amsler, Qarin Wikström on "Earth Core"
  • Like The Mind with Lisa Ullén, Peggy Lee, Lisen Rylander Löve, Meredith Bates, Emma Augustsson and Elisa Thorn on "Live At Fylkingen"
  • The Elks with Liz Allbee, Marta Zapparoli, Billy Roisz and Kai Fagaschinski on "The Land Of The Electric Ladys"
  • We Like We with Katinka Fogh Vindelev, Katrine Graup Elbo, Sara Rosendal and Josephine Opshal  on "A New Age Of Sensibility"
  • Selvhenter with Sonja LaBianca, Maria Bertel, Maria Diekmann Jaleh Negari and Anja Jacobsen on "Motion Of Large Bodies", "Frk. B. Fricka" and "12.16.05"
  • Spunk with Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje, Hild Sofie Tafjord, Lene Grenager and Kristin Andersen on "Still Eating Ginger Bread For Breakfast" and "Das Wohltemperierte Spunk"
  • Femina with Jennifer Choi, Sylvie Courvoisier, Carol Emanuel, Okkyung Lee, Ikue Mori, Shayna Dunkelman and Laurie Anderson on "Femina"
  • Hupata with Marta Warelis, Ada Rave & Yung-Tuan Ku on "Microclimates
  • Pistol Nr 9 with Maria Faust, Maria Bertel, Katrine Amsler, Qarin Wikström and Michala Østergaard-Nielsen on "Fest På Amager". 

This list is partly based on our own reviews, and I may have missed quite a few. Suggestions are welcome. 

Further reading for the interested reader: colleague reviewer's Sammy Stein's insightful book "Women in Jazz" and Renate Da Rin's "Giving Birth To Sound: Women in Creative Music".