Jasna Jovicevic Lecture and discussion: Representation of female jazz instrumentalists through history and today
Jasna Joviċeviċ is an internationally recognized saxophone, bass clarinet, flute player and composer from Serbia. She performed her work around Europe, USA and Canada on various national and international festivals. Jasna received her BA from Franc Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, and MA in composition from York University in Toronto; currently a PhD candidate in the Transdisciplinary Studies of Contemporary Arts and Media, at the University in Belgrade working on her artistic research in music dissertation.
Jazz historians, music journalists, critics, cultural workers, and producers in the music industry, most of them men, are those who define, control and empower stereotypes in jazz, designing jazz as a field of power, or forming a narrative of "dominant jazz discourse." This field did not involve women for a long time. Throughout jazz history, women have always been less represented, successful, followed and noticed on the scene. In order to be recognized by media and to participate freely, jazz woman has to present and adjust herself in an already familiar model that is recognized and positively valued by the outside world. In the jazz discourse, woman is labeled as “different” or “other,” compared to the “real” and “the one”, to a man. Each culture gives meanings to the different positions in the classification system. Belonging or not belonging to a given society is determined by the relative power of the group in that society that designates itself as a central place. So, woman in jazz remain as the "other," peripheral or rejected. The field of dominant jazz discourse is the male field of power.
A sense of the past becomes naturalized and history is presented as fixed and unchanging, so are the certain identities, roles and stereotypes. What jazz means is very much dependent on cultural perspective, or the values that are expressed in different times and places. It also means that in different circumstances this history is read differently, with new meaning and critic.
Since the 1980s, the presence and imbalance of women on the world jazz scene has been detected, researched, classified, analyzed and criticized. The jazz feminists and historians note that it is very difficult to construct a history of narrative involving women's bands and female musicians based on conventional standards that make jazz history. It is necessary to include the oral history of the period as there are major omissions by jazz historians and jazz critics. It is important to consider the female voice and be ready and eloquent to rewrite and interpret the jazz history in different light.
During the presentation, I will serve with the music and video examples, interviews and testimonies about the subject, from the past and today. The last part will be a group discussion, Q&A about the subject.