“Mothers In Jazz” is a new series, started by vocalist Nicky Schrire. The initiative aims to create an online resource for working jazz musicians with children, those contemplating parenthood, and jazz industry figures who work with and hire musicians who are parents. The insight of the musicians interviewed for this series provides valuable emotional, philosophical, and logistical information and support that is easily accessible to all. “Mothers In Jazz” shines a light on the very specific role of being both a mother and a performing jazz musician.
Linda May Han Oh: A GRAMMY Award-winning Bassist and Composer
Linda May Han Oh is a GRAMMY award-winning bassist and composer who has performed and recorded with artists such as Pat Metheny, Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Terri Lyne Carrington, Steve Wilson, Geri Allen, and Vijay Iyer. Originally born in Malaysia and raised in Boorloo (Perth), Western Australia, she has received many awards including a 2022 Deutscher Jazz Preis, an honorary mention at the 2009 Thelonious Monk Bass Competition, and the prestigious Herb Albert Award for music in 2023.
Career and Achievements
Linda has written for large and small ensembles as well as for film, participating in the Sundance Labs at Skywalker Ranch. She is currently Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music in the bass department and is also part of the Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice led by Terri Lyne Carrington.
She was featured on bass in the 2020 Pixar movie “Soul” under the musical direction of Jon Batiste (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) alongside drummer Roy Haynes and was the model for the character in the film – bassist “Miho.” Linda lives between New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband, pianist Fabian Almazan, and their 2.5-year-old son.
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Balancing Motherhood and Career: An Interview
In an interview with LondonJazz News, Linda May Han Oh shares valuable advice and experiences about juggling motherhood and a successful career in jazz. She emphasizes the importance of enjoying the present moment with the child and music while maintaining good communication with partners, especially when dealing with irregular schedules and organizing childcare.
Linda also highlights the supportive community she found among fellow musician parents and the industry figures who have helped her maintain a balance between her career and family life. She reflects on the challenges she faced as a mother and a bassist, such as rebuilding her strength post-pregnancy, and acknowledges the need for more support for working mothers in the jazz community.
Baby Gear and Travel Tips for Musicians
For musician parents on the go, Linda shares several recommendations, such as the Minu Uppababy stroller for travel and investing in a good cooler for pumped milk storage. She also advises on being prepared for different arrangements when traveling without the baby, as every airport and hotel handles breastmilk storage differently.
Linda’s New Album: The Glass Hours
Linda’s new album, “The Glass Hours,” was released on Biophilia Records on June 2, 2023. It features saxophonist Mark Turner, vocalist Sara Serpa, pianist Fabian Almazan, and drummer Obed Calvaire. The album explores abstract themes of the fragility of time and life, delving into paradoxes seeded within individual and societal values. Linda will also tour the US and Europe in 2023, including a duo performance with her husband, Fabian Almazan, in Ireland in June with their toddler in tow.