(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Both Wayne Enstice and Janis Stockhouse are educators and lovers of jazz music. During the late 1990’s, they interviewed many female jazz musicians. This particular collection brings together what the authors consider to be the twenty-one most revealing and intriguing interviews. They interviewed both vocalists and instrumentalists. It is obvious from the interviews that the authors did their homework before entering into any conversations with the musicians. Based on the interviews found in Jazzwomen: Conversations with Twenty-one Musicians, Enstice and Stockhouse also were able to make the musicians feel relaxed enough to talk candidly about themselves and the music industry. Each interview runs between twelve to fifteen pages. Before each interview, there is a short biography, and at the end of each interview there is a select discography. Jazzwomen opens with an interview of the soprano saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom. Born in 1955, Bloom has garnered international acclaim for her exploration of how musical sound can be affected by both motion and space.

While Bloom may be considered one of the more cutting-edge female jazz musicians included in Jazzwomen, Enstice and Stockhouse also interview such jazz legends as Marian McPartland, Shirley Horn, Abbey Lincoln, and Shirley Scott. Each of these extraordinary women have something to say about what inspired them to become jazz musicians. They also speak to the issue of sexism, and what they have had to overcome in order to succeed in the male-dominated world of jazz. During the 1990’s, pianist and vocalist Diana Krall and vocalist Cassandra Wilson became jazz stars in their own right. Thankfully, interviews with both Krall and Wilson are included in Jazzwomen. For anyone who loves jazz and is interested in learning more fully the contribution made by women on jazz, this collection of interviews is an essential read. A CD sampler also is included with the book.