Feminine Blue Writing and Recording Project Update

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As some of you know, I, along with the incredible ladies I have the pleasure of performing with, am in the middle of a writing and recording project, thanks largely to an Artist Development Grant from the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium. In the coming days, you’ll have a chance to lend your support to the project through a small crowdfunding campaign we plan to launch. Until then, here’s a little more detail about the focus of the project from the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium August Newsletter.:


This month, we profile “Feminine Blue,” the third of five new projects commissioned this year by the Jazz Consortium through its Artistic Development Program.  This project will be led by Madison-based jazz vocalist Betsy Ezell and will, in her words, “explore lyrical themes as well as composition style that reflect what it means to be a woman in jazz, a woman in our current culture, and also what it means to be me.”  Lyrical themes are expected to include “challenging existing power structures, the unique perspective of mothers, femininity celebrated, and the strength of collaboration.”

Betsy will compose her new works in partnership with pianist Becca May Grant and bassist Laurie Lang, local jazz musicians who are accomplished composers in their own right.  Betsy sees collaboration yielding results that are often better and brighter, and observes that “in many ways women are particularly wired for co-creation.” As project leader, she will “create the canvas – a song form, a verse, a chorus, a melody or a concept – that will be embellished, elevated, refined and made better with support and contribution from my co-writers.”

Betsy’s final product will be the recording of her maiden album and a November 2018 concert with Becca and Laurie.  The album will contain at least 8 songs, 4-6 of them newly composed in 2018 but all revolving around the themes explored in this project.  The music will be firmly in the jazz genre, with elements of soul and gospel. The culminating concert will include all of the newly-written pieces plus a selection of standards celebrating women jazz composers and tunes that fill out the theme.

In summing up the inspiration behind her project, Betsy states that “women’s voices need to be heard and celebrated, as it is coming to light how pervasively women’s voices have been diminished, as we’ve seen with the #metoo movement.  What women uniquely bring to the arts, business, politics, civic community and more is badly needed. In Madison, I’d like to see more women contributing to the jazz scene more regularly. There are some wonderful women artists – Gerri DiMaggio, Jan Wheaton, Laurie Lang, among others – that have been out there and I’d like to see more of us join them with original music and original perspectives.  This project will help accomplish that and hopefully pave the way for more.”