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Last modified: Monday, February 16, 2009

IU's 25th annual ArtsWeek culminates with Women in Jazz performance, discussion

Bloomington and regional jazz artists to discuss career paths, music and motherhood

WHAT: Women in Jazz performance and conversation featuring Janiece Jaffe and Vickie Daniel (vocals), Monika Herzig (piano), Jennifer Kirk (bass), Shawn Plonski (clarinet), and Lawrence Clark III (drums)
WHEN: Sunday, March 1, 6.30 p.m. panel discussion and concert followed by a reception
WHERE: Waldron Arts Center Auditorium

Feb. 16, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Arts Week 2009 will close March 1 with a free, open to the public tribute to Women's History Month, "Women in Jazz." In this spotlight event, Bloomington artists Janiece Jaffe and Monika Herzig team up with regional artists Vickie Daniel, Jennifer Kirk and Shawn Plonski, as well as some up-and-coming young female jazz artists, to celebrate three generations of women in jazz.

The evening will begin with a panel discussion in which each participant will present her career path as a musician, mother, wife and more. The 90-minute concert, starting at 7:30 p.m., will feature a mix of jazz standards and originals by each musician.

"Traditionally, women performers have been in the minority among jazz musicians. Many factors have contributed to this -- social expectations, performance venues, a lack of role models. In the past, women have been excluded from the tradition of oral transmission of jazz by apprenticeship, modeling and working with experienced players," said Jaffe, adding that social traditions, family obligations and gender barriers made it close to impossible for women to become apprentices to master musicians and absorb the oral conventions of jazz, which was the traditional way of learning this art form before its acceptance in the educational system.

According to a recent study by the NEA on the work life of jazz musicians, women still represent only about 15 percent of jazz musicians (the majority remain vocalists). Since the inclusion of jazz education in public schools and colleges in the early 1970s, participation of women has increased but is a long way from complete emancipation, Jaffe said.

Janiece Jaffe

Janiece Jaffe

Women jazz artists still face discrimination in the form of lower pay scales, higher expectations by their male peers, late hours interfering with family obligations and unwelcome sexual advances, Jaffe said.

"All of the female performers in this program have managed to overcome these obstacles and create a career as jazz musicians," she said. "By sharing their experiences and strategies, they will be able to act as role models for future generations and convert traditional politics of separation into a future of integration."

About ArtsWeek

Since its inception in 1984, ArtsWeek has grown into a significant annual showcase for the wealth of creative work at IU and in the city of Bloomington, with prestigious performers, artists and journalists from across the country taking part in ArtsWeek activites. Over its 25-year history, ArtsWeek has extended artistic expression in startling new directions, from graffiti to 3-D computer modeling, ballet to computer-enhanced dance performance, ice carvings to sound gardens, poetry to a pie-laden table sculpture in the middle of the street.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, see the ArtsWeek 2009 Web site at