Yoko Suzuki

  • Teaching Associate Professor


Jazz Studies, Ethnomusicology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Japanese Popular Music



Drawing on ethnographic and archival work, my long-term research project explores the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality in jazz performance through the lenses of feminist theories. My other projects include popular music and DJ culture in Japan, performance practices of the Black church, and the music of Geri Allen. Through research, I aspire to illuminate the underrecognized musicians and their work, addressing the issues of race, gender, and sexuality to eradicate social injustice.


In addition to teaching and research, I maintain an active performance career in the Pittsburgh jazz scene. I play saxophone with my own group as well as the group led by the legendary drummer, Roger Humphries. In 2020 and 2022, I was awarded a Small Arts Initiative grant from the Heinz Endowments to curate and perform a series of concerts featuring the music of Geri Allen, Dorothy Ashby, and Alice Coltrane at the Alphabet City. Through these concerts, I also shed light on the musicians and their work that deserve wider recognition.



Recent courses

History of jazz

Jazz improvisation

Small jazz ensemble

Gender and sexuality in Black popular music

Women and music in cross-cultural perspective


Selected Publications

“Gender, Sexuality, and Jazz Saxophone Performance.” Routledge Handbook of Jazz and Gender (Routledge, 2022): 156-167.


“Searching for a New Place: Exploratory Process in Geri Allen’s Compositions and Performances.” Jazz & Culture (Fall-Winter 2020): 111-126.


Jazzing: New York City’s Unseen Scene, by Thomas H. Greenland”

Review in Critical Studies in Improvisation Volume 12/2


“Gendering Musical Sound in Jazz Saxophone Performance.” Gender and Identity in Jazz, edited by Wolfram Knauer (Wolke Verlag Hofheim, 2016): 85-96.


Dance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen, by Sherrie Tucker” Review in Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, Volume 19 (2015): 189-192.


“‘None of us think about being a woman’: Performing Gender Without Norms.” Gender, Education, Music, and Society  Volume 7/2 (February 2014): 5-11.


“Two Strikes and the Double Negative: The Intersection of Gender and Race in the Cases of Female Jazz Saxophonists,” Black Music Research Journal (Fall 2013): 207-226.


“Invisible Woman: Vi Redd’s Contributions as an Alto Saxophonist.” American Music Review Vol. XLII, No. 2 (Spring 2013)


Grove Dictionary of American Music. 2nd edition.  Entries for Jane Bunnett; Vi Burnside; Ravi Coltrane; Claire Daly; Helen Humes; Bobbi Humphrey; Vi Redd; Marcus Rojas. 2013.



Education & Training

Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

Faculty Groupings

Core Faculty



Main Department Affliliation