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Emily Remler takes a particularly clear-eyed view of her work. She didnt want to be judged by lesser standards because she was a woman in the overwhelmingly male world of Jazz. The death of Jazz pianist Geri Allen went largely unnoticed in 2017, reminder that, however scarce the rewards of Life in Jazz may be, odds of success as anything other than vocalist in genre are much longer if youre woman. Ask to name female practitioner of any jazz instrument other than piano, even avid fans will hesitate and usually come up blank. Jazz history as a lascivious art form may have something to do with it: after all, it was born in Storyville, red light district of New Orleans, and its practitioners have struggled to shed the image of being music of wrong side of tracks ever since. Bluenoses over years have railed against both music in general and the instruments on which it is play, particularly the saxophone. Thought of mother at suburban bridge club proudly saying my daughter, Jazz Guitarist accordingly stretch imagination. Which makes the artistic development of Emily Remler, Jazz Guitarist who died of a heart attack in 1990 at the age of 32, that much more remarkable. Remler was born in 1957 in New York, and began playing guitar when she was ten. That chronology would place her squarely in the middle of the mid-60s flowering of the electric version of that instrument, and she is said to have listened to and absorbed the acid rock style of Jimi Hendrix. From 1976 to 1979, she attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she began to listen to Jazz guitarists including Wes Montgomery, Herb Ellis, Pat Martino, Joe Pass, and Jim Hall. Like some other guitarists who start with rock but have epiphany when they are first exposed to Jazz in large doses, she switched styles. In 1978, she was praised by Ellis as the new superstar of jazz guitar when he introduced her at the Concord Jazz Festival; she had learned her lessons quickly and well. She moved to New Orleans and by 1981 made her first record as leader, Firefly. Her anomalous status as a woman in Jazz brings her some attention to the man-bite-dog theory of newsworthiness, but she shrugs it off. In 1982, she replied to a question along that line from People magazine writer, saying I may look like a nice Jewish girl from New Jersey, but inside I am a 50-Year-old, heavy-set black man with a big thumb, like Wes Montgomery. She recorded an album with hard-edged guitarist Larry Coryell, Together, but given jazzs small share of the market for recorded music, she had to play whatever gigs came her way. She was part of the pit band for the Los Angeles version of Sophisticated Ladies from 1981-1982, and toured for several years with samba and bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto.
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