Location, Space, and Women In Jazz

Genevieve Rose

Genevieve Rose is a younger generation jazz musician. Rose, born in 1976, was only 21 at the time of the interview. Growing up, Genevieve Rose was surrounded by music, and got involved with different instruments very early on in her childhood. At eight years old, she started learning the guitar, while her brother started taking piano lessons. Genevieve Rose’s mother was always very supportive of what instruments her children wanted to pursue, and as long as it made her kids happy, then she was happy. Until she became involved in music herself, the music surrounding her never hit her as meaningful or significant. Genevieve Rose claims that while her brother listened to current music, she never did, as she preferred the oldies (‘50’s and 60’s type music). As a child, “for some reason [Rose] wanted to play the guitar,” (Rose transcript, line 63). She ended up taking ten years of guitar lessons with a local Massachusetts instructor, and it was only classical. During her guitar days, she mostly listened to classical guitar music, such as Segovia.

Genevieve Rose talks about her musical influences

After playing the guitar for nearly ten years, Genevieve Rose’s interest began to shift from classical music to jazz. This shift occurred when her brother began to get involved in jazz. “He would play jazz on his radio in his room,” (Line 68). These jazz recordings interested Genevieve, and were the first stepping stone for Rose towards her career as an electric bass player. Rose had been interested in playing the guitar in ensembles at school, rather than only playing in outside groups. Her public school, however, already had guitar players in the jazz band, so they proposed that Rose pick up the electric bass. As Rose recalls, she “had sort of gotten into jazz music that way,” (Rose transcript, line 72).

Throughout her sophomore year in high school, Rose’s interest peaked in the stand up bass. Having ten years of previous experience with the classical guitar, her transition between the instruments occurred fairly smoothly. After her first solo performance on bass, Rose won an award from her high school. This achievement encouraged her to pursue jazz music even further. During the early 90’s, Rose’s transition from classical music to jazz music proved to be extremely successful. As a senior in high school, Rose made the definitive decision that she was going to move beyond the guitar for good, and was going to concentrate on pursuing bass as a career.

Genevieve Rose talks about gender in jazz

Rose only had received formal lessons on the guitar, so all of her skills on the bass were self-taught. According to Rose, her “technique wasn’t really great or anything,” (Rose transcript, line 152). Although she had no formal experience, she began finding more and more opportunities. Rose recalls, “I was playing, I was enjoying it more, and I really liked the style of music that I was able to improvise and put in my own voice to the music,” (Rose transcript, line 153). The biggest difference that Rose noted between classical and jazz was the ability to put her own self into the music, through improvisation.

From her sophomore to senior year of high school, Rose won 20 MVP awards in music competitions. Each time she won an award, it was positive reinforcement to keep playing and trying harder. After graduating high school, Rose headed off to UMass Amherst to pursue a double major in music education and jazz performance. While Genevieve wanted to continue her education, she also wanted to pursue a part time career in jazz. Due to the time commitment of outside performances, she took a minimum amount of credits each semester. Although it took her more than four years to graduate, it allowed her to focus on outside performances. She realized the importance of building up a career and contacts while in school, so she could have something set up for when she graduated. Rose admits that she wanted a full time career in jazz, but eventually wanted to “teach at the high school or university level," (Rose transcript, line 285)

While in college, Genevieve Rose was both a part time student and a part time jazz musician. She realizes the importance of spreading yourself out so you have a lot of different contacts. She held performances in NYC, Boston area, Vermont, Connecticut, Utica. The variety of venues has allowed her to have many different experiences, and has taught her about the different gigs. When asked about her compensation, she couldn’t exactly compare her compensation for jazz gigs, because every gig is different. It is hard to compare what a gig in a big city would pay when compared to a small town performance. Genevieve Rose explains that “so far it’s worked out very well. And if it’s enough just so that I can keep up with the instrument, the equipment, a roof over my head and transportation to get there, that’s what makes me happy," (Rose transcript, line 564).

Genevieve Rose talks about her hopes for the future

For additional information, here is the full transcript of Genevieve Rose that can also be found in the Hamilton College Jazz Archives:

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