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Joëlle Léandre calls out Victoires Du Jazz on its lack of gender diversity

“Jazz did not stop in 1950!” declares the bassist’s open letter slamming the jazz award organisers’ all-male selection of winners

French bassist, improvisor and composer Joëlle Léandre has criticised the French annual awards ceremony Les Victoires Du jazz for its lack of gender diversity. At the November 2017 ceremony at Forum des Images in Paris, all 14 winning musicians and professionals were male. Artist of the year went to Thomas de Pourquery, Electro Deluxe were named best group, and Gérard de Haro and Vincent Mahey were proclaimed best sound engineers.

“I'm sorry about the results,” states Léandre, in her open letter. “I know several of them, and I have even performed with some. All this makes me question things.

How is it possible that there is not one single woman young or less young in the list of winners of 2017?

Is this a provocation? Is it a game?

Is it a I-don't-give-a-damn or I-couldn't-care-less?

What kind of jury was there?

Are the labels the agents behind all this?

How is it possible that in the 21st Century again and again not one single woman was nominated?

What is this charade? What is this masquerade?

What is this archaism, these dusty parlours with powdered wigs?

Jazz did not stop in 1950.”

Léandre’s letter was published on 17 December. You can read the full article at freejazzblog.org.