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Walker|West

Women in Jazz Initiative

Women in Jazz Initiative Mission 

Walker West Music Academy’s Women in Jazz Initiative was formed to address the gender gap in jazz. It is focused on providing more opportunities for women, non-binary and trans youth to participate in music performance, promoting conversations about gender equity, and providing safe and supportive spaces for players to experience #jazzwithoutpatriarchy, a movement being led by the Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice at Berklee College of Music.

We are actively creating space for women, non-binary, and trans students of all ages to play together, providing opportunities for connection and mentorship, and musical growth, while increasing visibility for women students, artists and organizations across MN. WWMA recognizes its own gaps in representation of women throughout our jazz programs and teaching faculty, and is working to highlight women jazz artists across the Twin Cities and beyond as we continue this work.

Sponsored by Jazz88/KBEM.

Programming includes:

– A series of all-women jam sessions at Walker West, presented in partnership with She Rock She Rock, open to players of all ages and experience

– An annual Women in Jazz Retreat, starting in 2024

– The formation of an ensemble of emerging Women in Jazz, that premiered at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival on the Youth Stage in 2023, and on the Mears Park Mainstage in 2024.

– Masterclasses with National Touring Women Jazz Artists, including Alexa Tarantino, Camille Thurman, Karrin Allyson, and Regina Carter

– The formation of Women in Jazz ensembles at area high schools

– In-school Women in Jazz workshops at area high schools

Spring/Summer 2024 Activities

Calling students women, non-binary and trans music students to sign up for Walker|West’s Intro to Jazz Workshops happening this spring, and a first ever Women in Jazz Retreat this June, led by Twin Cities Jazz Festival visiting artist, Claudia Medina! These activities are unique opportunities for students to explore improvisation, hone their performing skills, connect with other like-minded musicians from across the Twin Cities, and receive mentoring and coaching from leading local and national women jazz artists. This activities is a part of Walker|West’s Women in Jazz Initiative. Sponsored by Jazz88/KBEM.

Important Dates:

Intro to Jazz Workshops & Jam Session

When: Saturday, May 18 @ 1pm

Who: Women, Non-binary and Trans students of all ages. All welcome in the audience.

Women in Jazz Retreat

When: Monday, June 17 – Friday, June 21 (Off 6/19) 9:30am-4pm

Who: High School & College-age Women, Non-binary and Trans instrumentalists and vocalists.

She Rock Acoustic Jam

When: Saturday, June 8, 2024, 3-5pm

Where: Boom Island Park      

Who: Girls, women, nonbinary and trans folks of all ages are welcome!

Walker|West’s Jazzwomen Collective

The Walker West Jazzwomen Collective for the 2024 summer season brings together women, non-binary, and trans musicians with ties to the Twin Cities jazz scene to promote gender justice in jazz. The group performs a mix of original compositions and arrangements and consists of seven emerging instrumentalists. Learn more about these talented musicians below.

Performances/Clinics

Masterclass with Karrin Allyson
Friday, June 21 12:30-1:30pm at Twin Cities Jazz Fest @ Saint City (218 7th St E, St. Paul, MN 55101)

Performance of “A Chronology of Jazz Matriarchy” at Twin Cities Jazz Festival
Saturday, June 22 4pm, Mears Park Mainstage (221 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55101)

Masterclass with Regina Carter
Saturday, June 22 11am at Walker West Music Academy (760 Selby Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104) as part of Twin Cities Jazz Fest

 

2024 Musicians

Ella Grace – Trumpet

Ella Grace is an up-and-coming performer, composer, educator, and producer based in Chicago and Minnesota. She started studying trumpet in middle school with Steve Strand and soon began gigging locally with her own jazz combo. Ella moved to Chicago in 2021 where she is working towards a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Trumpet at DePaul University. Ella currently studies with Chad McCullough and Dana Hall, performs regularly around Chicago, and also visits Minnesota to perform around the Twin Cities.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube | Apple Music | Spotify

Gabby Helf – Drums

Gabby Helf is a drummer and percussionist originally from Glen Echo, Maryland, now based in Saint Paul. Gabby recently graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English Literature and played drums for four years in Mac Jazz, Macalester’s big band. She grew up playing in all sorts of wind ensembles, jazz combos, rock bands, and pit orchestras in the DC area and was the drummer for the 2019 Maryland All-State Jazz Band. Gabby currently plays drums in the indie-rock band, Bakermiller Pink (Instagram and Spotify).

Izzy Karr – Flute, Piano, Vocals

Born and raised in the Twin Cities, Izzy Karr began playing the flute when she was 10, and started taking lessons with James Devoll 2 years later. In middle school, she participated in concert, marching and jazz bands. Izzy went to SPCPA (Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists) for high school where she studied instrumental music, and enjoyed her wealth of opportunities to play 20th-century music with the chamber orchestra, play in woodwind trio and quintet, pit orchestras and ‘Improvestra’ for J-terms, jazz combos and big band. Outside of school, Izzy played in GTCYS (Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies) and MYS (Minnesota Youth Symphonies), as well as the top All-State band.

After graduating in 2020, Izzy attended the University of Minnesota – Duluth for 2 years and began to take an interest in singing/songwriting before making the decision to drop out and pursue her degree elsewhere. She moved back to the Twin Cities and has supplemented her musical education by taking lessons and classes at Walker West and will be finishing her degree at Berklee College in Boston. You can stay up to date with Izzy on Instagram: @izzykarr.music or on SpotifySoundcloud, or Apple Music under ‘Izzy Karr’.

Sophia Kaufmann – Bass

Sophia Kaufmann is an upright and electric bassist from Oakland, California now based in Minneapolis. Sophia recently graduated from Macalester College with degrees in music and sociology. At Macalester, Sophia was the manager and upright bassist for the big band Mac Jazz and she plays in smaller jazz combos around the Twin Cities. She grew up playing jazz in combos and big bands around the Bay Area and participated in the summer Stanford Jazz Workshop for multiple years. She also has played electric bass in various rock bands and currently plays and writes songs for the indie-rock band, Bakermiller Pink (Instagram: @Gabby Helf is a drummer and percussionist originally from Glen Echo, Maryland, now based in Saint Paul. Gabby recently graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English Literature and played drums for four years in Mac Jazz, Macalester’s big band. She grew up playing in all sorts of wind ensembles, jazz combos, rock bands, and pit orchestras in the DC area and was the drummer for the 2019 Maryland All-State Jazz Band. Gabby currently plays drums in the indie-rock band, Bakermiller Pink (Instagram and Spotify).

Sophia Kickhofel – Saxophone

Sophia Kickhofel is a saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist currently studying jazz music in New York City. She is originally from Minnesota, but has moved to the East Coast in order to study at the prestigious Juilliard School. Sophia has performed around the world with many notable musicians including Sean Jones, Ulysses Owens Jr, and jazz historian Loren Schoenberg.

Lo Salinas – Piano

Lo is a Minneapolis-based pianist influenced by the works of Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, and Chaka Kahn. Born in New Orleans, they found themselves influenced by the deep jazz culture of the city. Lo graduated from Winona State University in 2021 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing while also studying music. They started performing last year in jazz trios, chamber orchestras, and combos. They additionally perform as a singer and keyboardist in the jazz-punk band Topiary Blush. They are excited to be a part of this opportunity to represent diversity in jazz.

Opportunities to engage in the Twin Cities Jazz Community

  • Jazz Central Studios (in NE Minneapolis). Shows Friday and Saturday 8pm, also live-streamed at jazzcentralstudios.org 
  • Icehouse (S Minneapolis). Shows Monday nights, 6pm doors, 8pm showtime, regularly featuring jazz artists and monthly curators. Other jazz artist featured throughout the week.
  • Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, jazz artists regularly featured throughout the week, check their calendar! (Fridley)
  • Tuesday Night Jazz Jam at Whitey’s Old Town Saloon (NE Minneapolis). Hosted by Graydon Peterson, 10pm-1am. 21+.

Walker West Youth Programs

  • Walker West Jazz Combos – To learn more and sign up, click here.
  • Digital Music Production Program – Learn more.
  • Private Lessons – Check out the line up of teachers, here.
  • Summer Jazz Intensive at WW – July 29-Aug 2, 2024. Learn more 

Women in Jazz Interest form