Blog #2: Young Women's Jazz Workshops 2012
Hello again.. glad to be back for this second blog entry! This week is dedicated to Sydney saxophonist Sandy Evans and how her passion has made the YWJW possible for a decade.
I first met Sandy in 2007 on day one of the course when tutors gave an introductory performance. I distinctly remember them playing ‘Straight No Chaser’ and being intimidated as I was new to jazz, and they were amazing. This was the first opportunity for many of us to see jazz live! On finishing, Sandy dispelled our fears and displayed the generosity that is characterised not only in her personality, but in her music.
Sandy Evans is one of the most genuine, caring and committed people I have ever met. In 2008 Sandy spoke at the 10th Annual Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address (which I was lucky enough to attend) and said this:
“Our support of each other is probably the most important factor in ensuring the survival of the music we believe in and in improving conditions for the future”.
Sandy definitely champions this idea in all aspects of her life.
When she’s not being an Australian jazz icon, Sandy has found the time to pursue one of her other passions, to increase the number of professional women in Jazz.
In 2002 Sandy teamed up with SIMA to present the first of the Young Women’s Jazz Workshops, with a grand total of 10 participants. There are 39 this year. Past participants include Ellen Kirkwood (the most recent JRMA winner), Harriet Harding and Jess Dunn (who founded Sirens Big Band) and even Alex Silver who now directs the course. Over my 6 years doing the course, highlights are workshops with Australian pianist Andrea Keller and saxophone monster George Garzone in 2009.
Sandy Evans inspires with her very presence. I can clearly remember every single performance of hers which I have seen, purely because there is no one else who performs and composes like her. Her music always reflects her zeal and joy of life. My strongest memory is from earlier this year when I saw a performance of “When the Sky Cries Rainbows” by the Sandy Evans Trio and guests. Sandy unfortunately couldn’t play in the composition after she broke her nose in India, but was conducting. The music began and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing or hearing. There in front of me was Sandy in a cute, pink alpaca sweater leading the most bold, intense, passionate and inspiring music I have ever heard! The performance was seriously phenomenal. All musicians bared their souls and it was magic to witness. If you haven’t heard the Suite, please go and do so!
Well that about wraps it up for this week... Next time I’ll be returning to the 2012 workshops, focusing on repertoire and a short Q & A with Zoe Hauptman (bass player extraordinaire and my group leader this year).