“He says, ‘Yeah, we haven’t had the stage out for the reason that strippers had been right here.’ All of us simply sort of checked out one another like, ‘What?’ I do know Lisa, our singer, was barely devastated,” Burnett stated with a bittersweet chuckle.
These kinds of exchanges had been commonplace for a gaggle of 5 ladies paving their approach in a extremely male-dominated style. However as off-putting because it could possibly be, the remarks fuelled the dynamism and drive permeating Morgana’s sound.
“It’s nonetheless one thing that’s actually fairly innovative to have 5 ladies enjoying jazz,” she stated. “It was like, ‘Oh, you’re a lady, and also you play saxophone? Isn’t that bizarre so that you can play saxophone?’ They’re the sort of feedback that you’d routinely get enjoying jazz [in the ’90s].”
There are noticeably extra assets and initiatives created to encourage extra ladies to take up jazz in 2022, stated Burnett, however the business has not come so far as she had hoped.
“I feel there was a whole lot of optimistic change. Sonja is operating the Melbourne Ladies’s Worldwide Jazz Competition,” she stated. “There’s a sort of crucial mass of feminine gamers in Melbourne. Nonetheless, when it comes to the chances [of female jazz musicians globally], it could be very small in comparison with the broader group of jazz musicians who will doubtless be males.”
The business’s inherent sexism, in addition to the will to concentrate on household and educating younger minds, led to Morgana’s disbandment in 2001.
After 9 years of reside performances, Burnett stated contact was comparatively sparse for the primary few years as they pursued their very own ventures, together with finding out for a PhD, instructing on the Victorian School of the Arts, and creating recordings for the ABC.
However Morgana’s affect lived on, Burnett stated. Their experiences performing as a gaggle knowledgeable every of their solo journeys, ultimately bringing them again collectively for a extremely anticipated reunion at this yr’s jazz competition.
“It gave me the boldness to be a band chief in my very own proper,” Burnett stated. “We had been at all times trailblazing … jaws would drop. However then I felt that I wanted to develop completely different areas of my musicianship, completely different areas of my writing and issues like that.”
Morgana’s reunion not solely celebrates the quintet’s thirtieth anniversary and ladies in jazz, it additionally prompts them to attraction to a youthful viewers, these of the “web period”, and to encourage the viewers to take their sound significantly.
“We haven’t gone away, we’ve simply bought higher,” Burnett stated with conviction.
“I feel, personally, I’ve turn out to be extra daring whereas beforehand, being a younger lady, I felt most likely barely apologetic about taking over some house. Now I don’t, not simply because we’ve all finished the onerous yards as an ensemble, however individually too.”
This system for the 2022 Melbourne Worldwide Jazz Competition is launched right now.