A Decade of Women at Marsden Jazz Festival
08 March 2020
We have moved into a new decade, and so for International Women’s Day 2020 we thought we would look back over the incredible female artists who have featured at the festival over the last ten years.
At Marsden Jazz Festival we have always striven to provide equality and access for all artists across all groups and providing a platform for female artists is something we’re already succeeding at. In 2018 we signed up to the Keychange initiative and in the same year we exceeded their target of female representation in our programming, with 54% of acts including a female or non-binary artist. At our 2019 festival we increased our female artists to 61% across the programme and we’re aiming to do even more in the coming years.
So for International Women’s Day, let’s take a look back over the last ten years at some of the women who have performed on our stages….
A versatile vocalist, crossing jazz, folk and classical genres and also working as an actress with the RSC and on television, Jacqui is the daughter of jazz singer Dame Cleo Laine and jazz saxophonist Sir John Dankworth. Jacqui performed to a sell-out audience at Marsden in 2010.
Pianist and vocalist Liane Carroll has performed twice at Marsden, most recently in 2011. Described by The Times as “Deeply soulful, wonderfully honest” she has brilliant rapport with her audience and wears he heart on her sleeve as a performer.
Barb performed at the festival in 2012. A critically acclaimed interpreter of songs from the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone and Jacques Brel, her performances from the “New American Songbook” reach across musical boundaries and defy easy categorization.
A multi-award-winning vocalist who has established a well-deserved reputation on the UK scene as a Jazz singer of great sophistication. Tina played at Marsden in 2013 and her quartet featured her long-time collaborator, pianist Nikki Isles.
Acclaimed vocalist and broadcaster Claire Martin has performed at Marsden three times, most recently in 2015, when she shared the stage with saxophonist and vocalist Ray Gelato. Recipient of the BASCA Gold Badge Award for her contribution to jazz, she an OBE for her Services to Jazz in 2011.
Trumpeter Laura has performed with her quartet at Marsden Jazz Festival twice in the last decade, most recently in 2017, when her quartet (by then called Dinosaur) was also nominated for the Mercury Prize for their album Together, As One. In 2019, she won an Ivors Composer Award for her large jazz ensemble composition Stepping Out, Jumping In.
Guitarist Shirley Tetteh is a pivotal composer and musician at the epicentre of the global profile of the resurgent UK jazz scene. She first played at Marsden Jazz Festival in 2016 with Nerija and returned last year for two performances. She performed a new commission on the Saturday which was created especially for the festival called Songs and Expansions, and she performed on Sunday as part of the award winning SEED Ensemble.
London-based composer, arranger and alto-saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi is a Mercury Award nominated and Ivors Academy Award winning artist. She first performed at the festival with Nerija in 2016 alongside Shirley Tetteh and other female artists, before returning in 2019 with her 10-piece SEED Ensemble, performing to a sell out crowd.
This is just a sample of the incredible artists that have performed at Marsden Jazz Festival over the last ten years, and aside from our headline artists, Marsden Jazz Festival features a number of young female artists who perform with their school or college bands, and with other breakout bands.
We also want to take a moment on IWD 2020 to acknowledge all of the hard work of all the incredible women who volunteer and work behind the scenes every year to help produce the festival. You’re amazing – thank you!
And finally, to our incredible audience of strong, jazz loving women of all ages – thank you for supporting the festival and making all our hard work so rewarding! Here’s to another decade of opportunities for women in jazz.