Freddie Hubbard is an icon! He recorded my tune SWEET RETURN (1983) and put it in his Song Book making me historical (herstorical). I sat at the feet of Miles, Diz, Buhaina, Shepp, Yusef, Rahsaan, McCoy, and Ron Carter, learning all I could about the art of improvisation. I sat with Helen Morgan 3 years before she shot Lee. I AM JAZZ!
I’ve been in conversations with Ella, Betty Carter, Irene Reid, Ruth Brown, Abbey Lincoln, and Dorothy Donegan. I was THERE at the Blue Note, Slugs in the Far East (Village) with Lee Morgan, Buhaina, Miles, Frank Foster, Charles McPherson, Bill Hardman and Joe Lee Wilson, Village Gate, at the Galleon (Bronx), and the Village Vanguard with Lou Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith who recorded my first demo tape with me that got me gigs all over the European continent. Ellington’s bass player Aaron Bell first listened to my tune “Loneliblue” and said the musicians would love playing it.
In Philly, Gerald Price taught me composition and piano, and in New York, Barry Harris was my teacher on piano and vocals. Budd Johnson was my babysitter from 4-8 years old. Milt Hinton (The Judge) was my cousin’s Godfather and he got me my first gig in Berne, Switzerland, at Marion’s Jazz Room, in 1990. I sat on Jay McShann’s lap and asked him to marry me. I proposed marriage to Quincy Jones just before I interview him for my Master’s Thesis, The Cultural Politics of Commercial Jazz, in 1993, which explained why I had to go to Europe (1990-1998) to make a living. In July 2013, I gave my book A History of African American Jazz and Blues to Quincy with the interview I did of him in 1993, 20 years earlier, in the exact same building – Stravinsky Hall, in Montreux, Switzerland [photo].
I AM Jazz!
I am the Chronicler of this music. While everyone else was PLAYING, I was documenting it. I met Quincy Troupe, co-writer of Miles’ biography. I penned lyrics to A NIGHT IN TUNISIA, TUNE UP, BLUE BOSSA, and BESSIE’S BLUES and sang them all over Europe, the East Coast of the USA, and in China and Japan. I Am the female Jazz Messenger, who sang on Jazzmobile with Buhaina, Frank Foster, Frank Wes, George Coleman, and Charles McPherson. The first person to take me on the road was Philly Joe Jones, who took me to Baltimore to perform with Shirley Scott, Arthur Harper (bass), and Sonny Stitt, in 1978. I AM the only woman in the world with a Jazz and Blues Song Book that I submitted to the Guinness Book of Records.
Google me – www.joancartwright.com. But, more importantly, I am the foremost authority on Women in Jazz and Blues and I will not be quieted about the role of women as the Mothers of the Blues and the innovators of Jazz. That’s why, in 2007, I founded www.wijsf.org to promote women musicians, globally! That’s why, since 2008, I’ve interviewed over 200 women composers at www.blogtalkradio.com/musicwoman
That’s why I created the Jazzwomen Directory that features 90 women musicians that most musicians, let alone people, do not know about and I put 40 of them in my book Amazing Musicwomen that I taught over 10,000 students (3-12 grade and college) in the U.S., Switzerland, Sicily, China, and Japan about.
I AM JAZZ!
READ my books:
15 years in the making, MUSICWOMAN MAGAZINE is the brainchild of composer and vocalist Joan Cartwright, founder of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. and host of MUSICWOMAN RADIO, in the 7th year of featuring women who compose and perform their own music and men who support them.
Ms. Cartwright is an author of 10 books, produces concerts and events, researches and documents women in jazz and blues, and in music, in general. She is a noted composer, having two CDs of her own and three compilation CDs with 27 women composers, released in 2011, 2012, and 2013.The articles in this publication will reflect the lives, work, and passion of women like Ms. Cartwright, who claim music as their profession. Authors, journalists, photographers, musicians, critics, and fans are encouraged to submit articles to the Editor.Also, we encourage any and all advertisers to see our RATE SHEET and inquire about advertisement in MUSICWOMAN MAGAZINE.
TV Host Jordan Love interviews international jazz artist Joan Cartwright about her life, loves and music. Click image or here to watch the show.
The Luxury of Being a Singer equates to being on the top of the food chain in most societies. The musician sits at the table of the Chief. In the court of Kings and Queens, singers are held in the highest esteem. The 10 greatest benefits of being a singer are:
- Sleeping late
- World travel
- Good pay
- Good treatment
- Financial surprises
- Spiritual upliftment
Sleeping late is, by far, the best benefit of being a singer. Although I’m a morning person, most of my colleagues who perform around the world revel in sleeping until noon. Since we work at night, usually between the hours of 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., we have the luxury of turning our phones off and sleeping well into the day, if we choose to.
Invitations are a large part of our relationship with other people, who love to introduce us as “Our Diva”. It’s very flattering to go to a party or event and have the host or hostess bring their friends over to us, while declaring, “And THIS is our internationally-known Diva of Jazz!” Happens to me all the time and I must admit, it’s a very good feeling to know that people think so highly of you.
World travel is not only a privilege but an eye-opener. I’ve always believed that travel educates people to the ways of others, worldwide. Having had the pleasure of living in Europe, South America, Mexico, China, Japan, and three African countries – Ghana, Gambia and South Africa, and around the U.S., while on tour, I know there is much more to life than going to work and coming home to watch television. I started my travel blog, in August 2006, while living in China. Since then, I’ve logged 29 cities and 8 countries.
Applause is the drug of musicians and singers get most of the fanfare. Actually, many musicians hate singers simply because they get more applause. That’s because singers bring the words to songs, connecting with the audience on a deeper level than most instrumentalists. It’s just logical that lyrics tell a story that gives people a reason to understand the music being performed. Even though American audiences tend to be a bit fickle about their artists and they talk during a performance, which can drive musicians nuts, you can get addicted to applause, when it comes. European audiences are far more polite and attentive, while Asian audiences will smoke you out of the club.
Recognition as an artiste is most important for the continuation of the craft of music. Musicians thrive on recognition. They compete for recognition and, if you’ve got your marketing techniques honed, you can outrun another singer simply by getting good press or distributing shiny fliers. Of course, giving a good concert increases the recognition you get. It’s all in how you do your business. My book So, You Want To Be A Singer? spells out the steps necessary for a singer to take in order to be successful and recognized as a professional. What I learned in 20 years of being a professional, internationally-traveled singer is contained in this book available at this link.
I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the information with children in grades K-12, bringing them information necessary for them to know before they jump out into the world of musical performance.
Appreciation is all most people want from others and singers get it every time they perform. It’s so nice to have people walk up to you and say, “You have a beautiful voice,” or “I love the way you sing that song!” If each person in the world got this kind of appreciation just once a month, the world would be a happier place to live in. To be appreciated is to be seen and loved. We all need to be seen and loved and appreciated. But singers get more than their share of appreciation, especially if they are good at what they do.
Good pay comes with the territory. However, recently, people have been trying to trim the fat from the pay of musicians. Budget cuts and financial downturn dictates that musicians are becoming less necessary. Truth is music is what brought people back from the devastation of wars and financial crisis, since the beginning of time, and more recently in the 1920-1930s and in today’s volatile economic climate. Music is the universal language and healer and the voices of powerful singers have always made people forget their troubles, if only for a few moments. So, as Abbey Lincoln declared, “You Gotta Pay The Band!” and usually, the singer is the bandleader. She or he is the one who got the call, the contract and the check. Most musicians make in four hours what most people make in 8 hours. Problem is they may not work five days a week, so their salary has to stretch a little further. In the end, it all balances out – but it’s still nice to be offered $300 to $3,000 for one gig.
Good treatment is paramount to good performance. That’s why many contracts have riders stipulating that the musicians must have water, food and other comforts in their dressing room. People jump to provide musicians with what they need. The term “Diva” is applied to the female vocalist who is held in higher regard than musicians because she demands to be treated with respect and good treatment. Of course, being spoiled can be the downside but it’s all worth it once she steps out on that stage and opens her mouth to tame the beast among men. The envy of other women and most musicians, the Diva brings to life what only she can bring and being treated well is a perk of that ability to transform the audience.
Financial surprises ensue when a musician is on her or his job. Tips can almost double the pay received. I remember being in Zermatt, Switzerland, where I almost froze my buns off for four days. The pay was minimal, only CH900 for four nights per musicians, which is very low pay in Switzerland. We lived in the hotel that had no heat and this was at the top of the Alps. We ate very well, but the pay was still very low. However, one gentleman placed a CH1,000 bill in my hand, which I didn’t discover until he’d left, before I was able to thank him. I was so thrilled that I called my father in Florida on the hotel phone to tell him. He said, “How much is that in U.S. dollars?” I said, “About $750!” It was CH100 more than I was getting paid for the entire four days of performance. It definitely made up for the freezing nights and low pay. Another time, I had a man pay$75 for my CD because it was the last one I had. It was like an auction and the man gladly paid. Then, after singing a very sultry, sexy blues, a man handed me his American Express Gold Card and left, soon after. I was baffled. What should I do with this? My girlfriends said, “Go shopping!” But I just couldn’t see myself signing on the dotted line for anything with this card. I simply called him, got his address and mailed it back to him. It was the thought that counted. I was truly flattered and now have this wonderful story to tell.
Spiritual upliftment is the ultimate reward for being a singer. Not only does the ability to sing and bring music to the world life my spirits but it puts a light in the eyes of audience members. I can recall feeling very low on the morning of a performance and feeling totally elevated the same night. Music is the balm of ages that brings love, light and delight to millions, sometimes, all at one moment in time. Ask Pavarotti, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle how they feel about bringing such joy to other people. I’m sure they feel like me. I am delighted to have come into this life as a singer. I love what I do. I love who I am and there is no better position to be in. I’m convinced!
To book Joan Cartwright go to her official website.