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Ellen Seeling takes on Jazz at Lincoln Center audition process

Wynton Marsalis over the past four decades has evolved from hot-headed hotshot to Young Lion to a leading member of the jazz establishment and household name. The trumpeter as leader of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has long mentored some of the genre’s best young talents.

Bay Area jazz stalwart Ellen Seeling takes issue with Marsalis’ audition process, as she notes in an e-mail.

Wynton and J@LC will be in town at the end of the month. Wynton does not hold auditions for the band, and there has never been a permanent woman member of the group since its founding in 1988! This is what the Village Voice had to say about the situation back in 2000, and nothing has changed!
We want fair and equal access for women in jazz.
 When blind auditions (behind a screen without knowing name or gender) were instituted in the 1970s by American orchestras, there occured a 30% to 55% increase in the proportion of females among new hires, and a 25% to 46% increase in the percentage females in the orchestras since 1970.
So why won't Wynton audition women? His players earn $100,000 a year — shouldn't women get a equal shot at making this kind of money?Is it OK to exclude women if the organization takes tax money? Let's talk about it tomorrow — we want equal access for women through blind auditions for Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra!

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