Sp7.5 Women and Jazz Backup
- 1 Discussion
- 2 Introduction
- 3 Jazz women 1910-1920s America
- 4 Jazz women in 1950's America
- 5 Jazz women in 1960's America
- 6 Jazz women in 1970's America
- 7 Jazz women in 1980's America
- 8 Jazz women in 1990's America
- 9 Jazz women in 20th century
- 10 Internet & Bibliographic Resources on Women in Jazz
- 11 NOTES
“Leonard Feather, a fellow expatriate from England, and well-known figure in the jazz world as a critic, composer, and record producer, had by then begun tracking Marian McPartland's career, carefully and with a certain concern. Writing in Downbeat in 1952, he drily, but bluntly, summed up Marian's position in jazz: "She is English, white, and a woman—three hopeless strikes against her."” (bold not in original)
“"Only God can make a tree," the swing historian George T. Simon wrote in The Big Bands (London: Macmillan, 1967), "and only men can play good jazz." (bold not in original)
“In addition to unfair pay scales, jazz women encountered equally hostile philosophical and sexist attitudes. An unsigned Down Beat article of 1938 illustrates one particularly potent masculine point of view:
- Why is it that outside of a few sepia females, the woman musician never was born capable of sending anyone further than the nearest exit? It would seem that even though women are the weaker sex they would be able to bring more out of a poor, defenseless horn than something that sounds like a cry for help. You can forgive them for lacking guts in their playing but even women should be able to play with feeling and expression and they never do it. ("Why Women Musicians are Inferior" 1938)
Both the anonymity of this tirade and the willingness of Down Beat to publish it reveal a latent yet permeating sexism. The explicitly masculinist and racialized tone of this passage represents one particularly prevalent political ideology. Here, women are defined as physically inferior, yet are somehow expected to have greater expressive and emotional capacities. Further, the anonymous author promulgates racial stereotypes by admitting a few black (sepia) female musicians into the masculine institution of jazz.” (bold and bold italic not in original)
Group shot for Director Judy Chaikin's documentary "The Girls in the Band" (picture modeled after Art Kane's Esquire magazine photograph "A Great Day in Harlem" taken in 1958). Chaikin's documentary tells the true stories of female jazz musicians enduring sexism, racism, and lack of opportunities all so they could play their music.
Women have probably been underrepresented in every professional field with few non-gendered exceptions. For how this has affected women philosophers generally, see Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting's essay "Women or Philosophers" (February 4, 2021) and Helen Beebee's article "Women in Philosophy: What's Changed?" (May 29, 2021) both at The Philosophers' Magazine. To see what has been adopted to assist UK philosophy departments, learned societies and journals in ensuring that they have policies and procedures in place that encourage the representation of women in philosophy, see "Good Practice Scheme." For women's representations in philosophy classrooms and faculty offices, see "The Diversity of Philosophy Students and Faculty in the United States," (May 30, 2021) by Eric Schwitzgebel, Liam Kofi Bright, Carolyn Dicey Jennings, Morgan Thompson and Eric Winsberg.
“Women had long been accepted as vocalists in popular music, but few had enjoyed successful careers as jazz instrumentalists, and even fewer managed to make records during this period. Surviving news coverage attests that female bands were well known during the 1930s, and we hear mention of the Harlem Playgirls, the Darlings of Rhythm, the Hip Chicks, Dixie Sweethearts, and other ensembles, but we have little documentation of the music they made. But in 1937, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all-female swing band, was formed—initially as a fund-raising project at the Piney Woods Country Life School for poor and orphaned African American children in Mississippi. But the band members had larger ambitions and, after a well-received debut at the Howard Theater, would go on to tour the United States and Europe, as well as record for the Victor label. The ensemble was often marketed for its glamour, and this may have led some to overlook its high musical standards, as demonstrated on tracks such as “Swing Shift” and “Bugle Call Rag.” But Louis Armstrong was so impressed with trumpeter Ernestine “Tiny” Davis that he offered her a job at a substantial pay raise, which she declined, and the propulsive drummer Pauline Braddy, billed as “Queen of the Drums,” was a major talent by any measure. The International Sweethearts of Rhythm not only helped establish women as respected instrumentalists, but also broke down barriers as the first integrated female band in the United States. Yet their example would stand out as a rare exception, and only gradually gain the interest of critics and music historians. A turning point came in 1980, when pianist and broadcaster Marian McPartland worked with the Kansas City Jazz Festival to sponsor a reunion and public event honoring nine surviving band members. Williams, for her part, gradually rose through the ranks of the Kirk organization: for a time she acted as chauffeur for the band (she also worked as a hearse driver during this period), eventually securing a spot as a staff writer and full-time performer. But from 1930 until 1942, Williams served as the main catalyst for the Kirk ensemble. Her charts, such as “Mary’s Idea” and “Walkin’ and Swingin’,” were marked by a happy mixture of experimentalism and rhythmic urgency, while her playing soon earned her star billing as “The Lady Who Swings the Band.” In later years, Williams’s progressive tendencies became even more pronounced, leading her to adopt much of the bebop vocabulary and inspiring her to compose extended pieces, most notably the Zodiac Suite from 1945. Following her conversion to Catholicism in the 1950s, Williams wrote and performed a number of sacred works and continued to expand her musical horizons long after the age when most artists settle comfortably into a familiar style and repertoire. Her 1962 work for voices “Black Christ of the Andes” is a neglected masterpiece that makes clear that Williams could have reached the highest rung as a choral composer, and fifteen years later this stalwart of traditional jazz went head-to-head with free-jazz titan Cecil Taylor in a controversial Carnegie Hall concert. At this high-profile performance, held four years before Williams’s death in 1981, two confident masters of the jazz keyboard confronted each other head on, and neither side blinked. As such daring gestures made clear, 'none of the Kansas City pioneers brought a broader perspective to their music making than Mary Lou Williams.” (bold not in original)
In her "Women in Jazz 1920s–1950," a term paper in 2015 for her "History of American Music" course, author Emma Lamoreaux explains that women are underrepresented in jazz history for multiple reasons. First, there was significant and repressive male prejudice against all non-male musicians. Second, jazz had a social stigma of being sleazy and sexy, allegedly inappropriate for female participation since people judged it socially unacceptable for women to participate in such activity. A third and strikingly telling reason accounting for women's underrepresented in jazz history is from an over-reliance on recordings. Female jazz musicians were underrepresented in recordings precisely because of the first two prejudices against their playing jazz in the first place.
Women jazz musicians have almost always been in a discouraging situation caused by numerous factors against them: male gender prejudices against female musicians, the belief by many that there are no good female jazz players (although this has always been false), that playing anything other than the piano or singing was not 'lady-like' and was inappropriate for women to play the trumpet, the saxophone, the bass, or the drums.
Several newspaper reporters have written about the problems for women entering into the jazz field, including Robert Palmer (1945–1997) in his January 21, 1977 New York Times article "Women Who Make Jazz" and Peter Watrous in his November 27, 1994 New York Times article JAZZ VIEW: "Why Women Remain At the Back of the Bus."
Lamoreaux, in her paper, discusses multilingual composer, instrumentalist, singer, and dancer Valaida Snow (1904–1956). Often known as the “Queen of Trumpet,” Snow recorded her album "Hot Snow," containing both her singing as well as playing her trumpet. By the age of 15, she had learned to play the cello, bass, banjo, violin, mandolin, harp, accordion, clarinet, trumpet, and saxophone. Louis Armstrong thought so highly of her trumpet playing that he said she was the world's second-best jazz trumpet player besides himself. Because of this, she was named "Little Louis" after Louis Armstrong.
A more well-known and influential woman musician was singer, songwriter, electric guitarist, and recording artist Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915–1973), who was not really a jazz musician but more of a hot gospel performer with her electric guitar playing using heavy distortion and influencing 1960's British electric blues guitar players, such as Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. Wikipedia: Sister Rosetta Tharpe notes that “She attained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings, characterized by a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic accompaniment that was a precursor of rock and roll. She was the first great recording star of gospel music and among the first gospel musicians to appeal to rhythm-and-blues and rock-and-roll audiences, later being referred to as "the original soul sister" and "the Godmother of rock and roll."”
Another unsung woman of jazz was Dorothy Donegan (1922–1998), an American jazz pianist and vocalist, working primarily in the stride piano and boogie-woogie style, but she also could play Bebop, swing jazz, or even classical music.
The International Sweethearts of Rhythm was an all-female jazz orchestra in the 1940s that toured widely, including traveling and performing in many venues.
European ones like Barbara Thompson and Marilyn Mazur
Above all, however, they looked to Jutta Hipp, who had already proven in the early 1950s that a musician could be taken seriously as a woman at the instrument even without the "exotic bonus."
There were only three female musicians in Cologne, Germany's WDR big band in 2018. Australian-born trombonist Shannon Barnett became a full member in January, 2014. See and hear her killer trombone solo at 2:12 in on a Paquito D'Rivera date with the WDR Cologne big band.
Karolina Strassmayer alto saxophonist. Since 2004 she has been the first woman to be a permanent member of the WDR Big Band Cologne. In 2004, Strassmayer was also named "Top Five Alto Saxophonist" of the year by the American jazz magazine Downbeat. She played alto sax on Joe Lovano's 20th album "Symphonica" released in 2009 on Blue Note Records from a November 26, 2005 live recording.
See below for more facts about these individuals and groups.
NOTE: Screencapture below of women in jazz from WikiVisually: Jazz under topic heading of 2. Elements and Issues of 2.4 Roles of women. Click on any hyperlink, including the photo itself, to go there, then scroll down, or click here and go directly.
🌕 Rosetta Reitz (1924–2008) championed women's jazz.
🌕 See Douglas Martin's obituary "Rosetta Reitz, Champion of Jazz Women, Dies at 84," NYTimes, November 14, 2008.
Jazz women 1910-1920s America
Ada Leonard's All-American Girl Orchestra
Marjorie Rainey's Rhythmettes
Marjorie Rainey (1915–1997) Rhythmettes
Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams /
Williams took the name "Mary Lou" at the suggestion of Brunswick Record's Jack Kapp as quoted in Max Jones's Jazz Talking: Profiles, Interviews, and Other Riffs on Jazz Musician's, Da Capo Press, 2000, 190. Her last name of Williams came from her husband, saxophonist John Williams, who she married at age 16.
musical prodigy who could pick out simple tunes at age two, who taught herself to play the piano at three years old, including playing back a tune she heard her mother play on the family organ at that age, and discovered in high school she had perfect pitch.
“No woman other than the vocalists Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald had so dominated the swing scene or earned the genuine respect of bandleaders and musicians alike.”
Twelve Clouds of Joy band until April 1930, at which time she became a regular member.
the Kirk band in the 1930s success was largely due to her distinctive arrangements, compositions and solo performances on the piano. Listen to Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy with arrangements and compositions by Williams. See Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy discography.
wrote and arranged "Camel Hop" written for Benny Goodman's radio show sponsor, Camel cigarettes, followed by another big hit for Goodman in her "Roll 'Em" (a boogie-woogie piece based on the blues) (1937), "What's Your Story, Morning Glory" for Jimmie Lunceford, arrangements for the biggest act at the time of Cab Calloway, rearranged Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" as "Trumpets No End" (1943) a big hit for Duke Ellington that Ellington recorded in 1946 and the Dizzy Gillespie smash hit, "In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee" (1949).
became involved with a younger group of New York musicians including Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Tadd Dameron, and Dizzy Gillespie (1943), moving from what Encyclopedia Brittanica describes as “an established musician in the swing style, she easily made the transition to bebop. Her apartment became a meeting place, and she wrote several important compositions in the bebop style, including “In the Land of Oo-Blah-Dee,” “Tisherone,” “Knowledge,” “Lonely Moments,” and “Waltz Boogie.” The latter was recorded with Girl-Stars, one of her several women’s bands, in 1946.”
premiered the first of many large compositions including the 12-movement Zodiac Suite whose “Capricorn” movement was created especially for dancer Pearl Primus who also performed at Café Society (1945).
moved to Europe performing in both Paris and London (1952).
an important figure in Bebop who contributed scores to Dizzy Gillespie’s big band.
worked with some of music’s greatest legends, including Ben Webster, Bud Powell, and Thelonious Monk.
resumed her career in 1957 where she remained active throughout the 1960s and 1970s leading her own groups in New York clubs, composing sacred works for jazz orchestra and voices, and devoting much of her time to teaching.
long regarded as one of the most significant female musicians in jazz, as an instrumentalist, as a composer, and as an arranger.
“easily adapting in the 1940s to the new Bebop idiom and in the 1960s her play attained a level of complexity and dissonance that rivaled avant-garde pianism of the time, but without losing the underlying blues feeling."
breadth of her work as a composer and arranger can be seen from her expert swing-band scores for Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy (Listen to Walkin’ and Swingin’, or Mary’s Idea, etc.) to the large-scale sacred works of the 1960s and 70s.
her "Waltz Boogie" (1946) was one of the earliest attempts to adapt jazz to non-duple meters.
In the 1960s and ’70s composed a number of her sacred works and liturgical pieces for jazz ensembles, including a cantata, "Black Christ of the Andes" (1962); three masses that included "Black Christ of the Andes" (see track list for "Black Christ of the Andes") (1963), "Mass for the Lenten Season" (1968), "Music for Peace" (1970), popularly known as "Mary Lou’s Mass" which (1970) became well known in a version choreographed by Alvin Ailey.
In 1970 as a solo pianist and providing her own commentary, she recorded a comprehensive performance-lecture entitled "The History of Jazz." (FW2860)
made an appearance (Click on "appearance" to view video) on
Guggenheim Fellowships, 1972 and 1977.
“Why have jazz historians generally avoided serious consideration of her music and her contributions to jazz, even as she garnered praise and respect from her peers? One obvious answer is that Mary Lou Williams was a woman performing and writing in the male-dominated field of jazz music whose abilities enabled her to defy the conventional gender roles implicit in the jazz narratives of her day. According to this view, women in jazz were rare, women pianists rarer still, and women who, besides their superiority as players, could also compose and arrange first-class music for big band and combo were simply unheard of. Yet Duke Ellington famously described (in his autobiography, Music Is My Mistress) that Williams was "perpetually contemporary," going on to say that "her writing and performing are and have always been just a little ahead throughout her career."
nominee Grammy Awards, Best Jazz Performance – Group, for the album "Giants—Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hackett, Mary Lou Williams" (1971); also released under the title "Mary Lou Williams and the Trumpet Giants."
Duke University established the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture (1983).
the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. has an annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival (annually since 1996).
her Pennsylvania State Historic Marker is placed at 328 Lincoln Avenue, Lincoln Elementary School, Pittsburgh, PA, noting her accomplishments and the location of the school she attended.
trumpeter Dave Douglas released the album "Soul on Soul" as a tribute to her, featuring original arrangements of her music and new pieces inspired by her work (2000).
the album "Impressions of Mary Lou" by pianist John Hicks featured eight of her compositions (2000).
had a small cameo in Ken Burns’s documentary "Jazz" on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) (2001).
a YA historical novel based on Mary Lou Williams entitled Jazz Girl, by Sarah Bruce Kelly, published in 2010.
merited a children's book based on Mary Lou William's early life, entitled The Little Piano Girl by Ann Ingalls and Maryann MacDonald with illustrations by Giselle Potter, (published in 2010).
a poetry book by Yona Harvey entitled Hemming the Water published in 2013, inspired by Williams and featuring the poem "Communion with Mary Lou Williams" (2011).
Her New York Times obituary reports that “Miss Williams was an important contributor to every aspect of jazz that developed during a career that began in the late 1920's and lasted for more than half a century.”
an award-winning documentary film entitled, "Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band,"
What'sHerName women's history podcasts aired the episode "THE MUSICIAN: Mary Lou Williams," with guest expert "Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band," producer and director Carol Bash (2018).
Listen to an "Interview with Mary Lou Williams" (recorded live in 1976).
Listen to Mary Lou Williams playing, even singing, and being interviewed by Marian McPartland (1918– 2013) on the very first episode of McPartland's "Piano Jazz" (recorded live in 1978) with bassist Ronnie Boykins (1935–1980).
Listen to "Mary Lou Williams Centennial On JazzSet," from radio station WBGO, broadcast May 6, 2010. The first concert is from the University of Michigan (1978) where she plays her history of jazz medley first playing solo piano on spirituals (her own composition), Ragtime playing "Fandangle" a rag her mother had taught her, demonstrates Kansas City Swing (a "Blues,") a swinging left hand untitled number, a boogie-woogie on "Baby Bear Boogie." Adding bassist Ronnie Boykins, they perform "On Green Dolphin Street," "Baby Man" (by John Stubblefield), "Jeep Is Jumpin'" (by Johnny Hodges), and "Let's Do the Froggy Bottom." The University of Wisconsin, Madison concert adds drummer Charlie Persip where the trio plays Dizzy Gillespie's "Olinga," followed by "Medi II," then "Bag's Groove" by Milt Jackson.
Mary Lou Williams Lane, a street near 10th and Paseo in Kansas City, Missouri, was named after her (2018).
Tammy L. Kernodle, (B.M., M.A.), "Anything You are Shows Up in Your Music: Mary Lou Williams and the Sanctification of Jazz," Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 1997.
Tammy L. Kernodle, Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2004).
Billie Rogers (1917–2014)
first woman to hold a horn position in a major jazz orchestra (Woody Herman's 1941).
International Sweethearts of Rhythm
International Sweethearts of Rhythm
Marjorie Hyams (1920–2012)
featured with Woody Herman's First Herd (1944–1945).
an original member of the George Shearing Quintet (1949-1950).
Read her JazzWax interview.
Hazel Scott (1920–1981)
(Click on montage of screen captures to see and hear her swing Chopin for Army–Navy Screen Magazine)
the first black American to host her own TV show.
uses post-bebop embellishment techniques that provide lush harmonies highlighting her ideas, as in her solo on George Gershwin's "A Foggy Day."
“a true trailblazer in African-American culture.”Read Karen Chilton's HAZEL SCOTT: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist from Cafe Society to Hollywood to HUAC
Beryl Booker (1922–1978)
recorded "Beryl Booker and her Piano" (1949)
Miles Davis sat in with her trio in 1952.
formed her own female trio with Bonnie Wetzel and Elaine Leighton in 1953.
toured Europe in 1954 with this group as part of "Jazz Club USA" that featured vocalist Billie Holiday.
recorded "A Girl Met A Piano" (1954)
released an EP of "When A Woman Loves A Man" (1954).
backed Dinah Washington in 1959.
worked with Slam Stewart, Chuck Wayne, Miles Davis, Clyde Lombardi, Connie Kay, Dinah Washington, Don Byas and others.
Dorothy Donegan (1922–1998)
(Film stills above taken from the movie "Sensations of 1945")
first black woman to perform at Chicago's Orchestra Hall in 1943.
music critic of the New York Times John S. Wilson in 1981 proclaims her “the lustiest, most exciting, hard swinging and virtuosic jazz pianist in the world. . . one of the most brilliant pianists, male or female, that jazz has ever known."
See Wilma Dobie's article "Dorothy Donegan Did It Her Way: Fans Loved but Critics Belittled," Jazz Journalists Association Library, 1998.
Jazz women in 1950's America
admired swing pianists such as Count Basie, Teddy Wilson and Fats Waller. After reaching Munich in the 1950s she found inspiration in pianists Bud Powell, Lenny Tristano and later moved away from Bebop greatly influenced by Horace Silver's blues-inspired rhythmic abilities.
moved to Munich, Germany in early 1950s and in 1952 recorded with saxophonist Hans Koller (1921–2003).
sought out in Germany in January 1954 by music critic Leonard Feather (1914–1994) who had heard recordings of Hipp in 1951 and encouraged by him to come to New York City, which she did.
moved to New York City in November 1955 and played at the Hickory House beginning in March 1956 recording two trio albums for Blue Note Records playing in a more blues drenched style following Horace Silver. Her trio mates were British bassist Peter Ind (1928–2021) and drummer Ed Thigpen (1930–2010) known for his years with pianist Oscar Peterson (1925–2007) for Volumes 1 and 2 (Blue Note, April, 1956) .
“the first white female jazz instrumentalist as well as the first European instrumentalist to be signed by Blue Note Records.”
her first recording for Blue Note Records in 1954 was a live recording with sidemen titled "New Faces, New Sounds from Germany."
Ben Ratliff, in The New York Times 2003 obituary, wrote that Hipp “developed a style that was lean, percussive, swinging and interrupted with plenty of rests, not far from Horace Silver's style but more low-key.”
The Penguin Guide to Jazz observed that Hipp is “not as easy to pigeonhole as some accounts suggest. There are extra notes in many of the chords that give them a tense, slightly jangling quality, but Hipp was also capable of playing with delicate lyricism [ . . . ] and with a rugged, funky edge.”
“As Hipp…matured artistically, she had defined her own artistic standards and revolted when pressured to record music she did not like. She also suffered from severe stage fright throughout her career. Thus being the featured artist at a large performance venue was more of a daunting chore for Hipp than a joyful public celebration of her talent.” – All About Jazz
Shirley Scott (1934–2002)
Blossom Dearie (1924–2009)
Jazz women in 1960's America
the Los Angeles Conservatory offered her a full scholarship, but she attended classes for only a few days before deciding that live performance on the bandstand would help her career more than school 🏫.
Brackeen married and moved her family, including four children, to New York in 1965. She began her career there with such luminaries as George Benson, Paul Chambers, Lee Konitz, Sonny Stitt, and Woody Shaw among others.
Traveling and performing mainly with her own band was a delightful and enriching experience for both Brackeen and her band members, which included Terence Blanchard, Michael Brecker, Ravi Coltrane, Jack DeJohnette, Eddie Gomez, Billy Hart, Horace "El Negro" Hernandez, Branford Marsalis, Cecil McBee, John Patitucci, Chris Potter, and Greg Osby.
Berklee College of Music has recognized Brackeen with the following prestigious honors: a Distinguished Professor Award, an Outstanding Achievement in Education Award, and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Award.
received an Outstanding Educator Award from the International Association for Jazz Education, a Living Legend Award from the International Women in Jazz, and the BNY Mellon Jazz 2014 Living Legacy Award.
received two National Endowment for the Arts grants for commissions and performances and received a U.S. Department of State sponsorship for a tour of the Middle East and Europe in the mid-1980s. She continues to teach and tour internationally, and to date, she has played in 46 different countries.
2018 NEA Jazz Master. Since the program started in 1982, she is one of the few non-singing female musicians crowned an NEA Jazz Master along with trombonist/arranger Melba Liston (1987), pianists and composers Marian McPartland (2000), Toshiko Akiyoshi (2007), Carla Bley (2015), Maria Schneider (2019), and Dorthaan Kirk—recipient of the 2020 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy.
Read John Murph’s “Joanne Brackeen: Still Proudly Unorthodox,” JazzTimes, February 10, 2020.
Listen to her interview with Bob Karcy.
Jazz women in 1970's America
Ahnee Sharon Freeman
Ahnee Sharon Freeman (b. 1958)
Jessica (Jennifer) Williams
(Photo by Jimmy and Deana Katz/courtesy of Jessica Williams)
Jessica (Jennifer) Williams (b. 1948)
started playing the piano at age four with music lessons from a private teacher at five, and enrolled in the Peabody Preparatory at age seven.
a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
In June 1976 when twenty-eight years old she began performing regularly with the "Philly Joe" Jones band in New Jersey. Philly Joe (1923–1985) was the drummer for the first Miles Davis Quintet (1955–1958).
Subsequently, she worked with drummer Lex Humphries (1936–1994) in Philadelphia and New York City, before switching to the West Coast in October 1976.
In 1977, Williams moved to San Francisco, where she played in various house bands at the Keystone Korner. She played in the bands of Eddie Harris, Tony Williams, Stan Getz, Bobby Hutcherson, and Charlie Haden, eventually leading her own jazz trio, and recording prolifically for the next several decades.
her musical career was mostly on the West Coast, San Francisco in the 1970s and 80s, and thereafter in the Pacific Northwest, though she toured widely as a soloist and with her trio. She recorded several albums in Portland, Oregon, including two with the great walking bass player Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Mel Brown.
Recorded excellent tribute albums for Thelonious Monk's "In the Key of Monk" (recorded 1997/released 1999) & "More for Monk" (2007) & ("Deep Monk" (2008), Bill Evans (recorded 1996/released 1998), Duke Ellington (recorded 2000/released 2001), Dr. Billy Taylor (2006), Miles Davis (released 2007), and John Coltrane (recorded 2007/released 2011). See and hear from the album covers below.
qualified for two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1984 & 1988).
two-time Grammy Nominee, including her 1986 album "Nothin' But the Truth," and "LIVE at Yoshi's Volume One" in 2004 for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.
In 1997, she established her own record label, Red and Blue Recordings. She also started her publishing company, JJW Music/ASCAP, and an internet mail order business, jessicawilliams.com (now defunct).
was a guest on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross March 29, 2002.
Presented a plaque of civic appreciation from Mayor of Sacramento, CA Anne Rudin with a key to the City of Sacramento (1989).
One of the TOP 5 CDs of 2000 (JazzTimes Critics Poll — "In the Key of Monk").
One of the TOP 5 CDs of 1999 (JazzTimes Critics Poll — "Joyful Sorrow").
appeared in festivals and venues worldwide, including the Purcell Room in London, the Bern Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the New Morning in Paris, Spivey Hall in Georgia, the Opera House in Tokyo, and hundreds of other venues.
Nothin' But the Truth — 1986
Live At Yoshi's, Vol. 1 — 2004
National Endowment for the Arts grants — 1984, 1988
Rockefeller Grant (composing) — 1989
Alice B. Toklas Grant for Women Composers — 1992
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship — 1995
Presented the keys to the city of Sacramento, California.
Four grants from the Sacramento Arts Commission.
Presented the Keys to the City of San Mateo, California.
Artist of the Year in Santa Cruz County — 2002
Jazz Record of the Year for two consecutive years in the Jazz Journal International Reader's Poll.
Billboard Magazine charting: "This Side Up" — Top Jazz Albums, peak No. 24, 2002
Jazz women in 1980's America
Emily Remler (1957-1990)
released six albums with her own groups (1981), (1982), (1984), (1985), (1988) and a duet album with Larry Coryell (1985).
her final album, "This is Me," was her first entry into the contemporary jazz-pop realm.
Terri Lyne Carrington
|🔸 Kris Davis|
her primary musical influences were her four mentors Marcus Belgrave, Donald Walden, Betty Carter, and Dr. Billy Taylor, as well as pianists Bud Powell, Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk, Hank Jones, Alice Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner, and Herbie Hancock.
became a charter member of the Black Rock Coalition and the Brooklyn M-Base movement in mid 1980s, including saxophonists Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, and vocalist Cassandra Wilson among others.
played on several of Steve Coleman's albums, including his first, "Motherland Pulse," (1985) providing the composition "The Glide Was in the Ride", (click on song title to listen) a track listed on the "New Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz" (2011).
was the original keyboarder of Steve Coleman's M-Base band Five Elements.
had her debut album as leader, "The Printmakers" (1984), with Anthony Cox and Andrew Cyrille recorded in Germany and released by the newly founded German label Minor Music.
played piano on bassist Charlie Haden's album "Etudes" (1988) in a trio with drummer Paul Motian.
played on drummer Paul Motian's album "Monk in Motian" (1988).
first woman, and youngest person, to receive the Danish Jazzpar Prize (1996).
her album "Flying Toward the Sound" was rated one of the Best Of 2010 on NPR, DownBeat magazine, the All About Jazz website, and the Village Voice's Jazz Critics' Poll.
was a curator in New York City at the STONE (2012).
part of two recent groundbreaking trios: ACS (Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Esperanza Spalding) and the MAC Power Trio with David Murray and Terri Lyne Carrington with their debut recording "Perfection" (2016) released on Motéma Music to critical acclaim.
Saskia Laroo (b. 1959)
Dena DeRose (b. 1966)
[[file:DenaDeRose.jpeg link=http://denaderose.com/about/ Dena DeRose|alt=.]]
Another World DeRose began playing piano when she was three and, in addition to her piano lessons, she studied classical organ and percussion. In school. She played in the orchestra, the marching band, and the jazz band, and accompanied musicals. She took classes in classical piano at SUNY Binghamton and worked as a jazz pianist in upstate New York. But in the mid-'80s she was struck with a combination of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome that greatly affected her right hand. She had two operations and was unable to play piano at all for two years. It looked as if her musical career was over before it had really begun. But one night while in a jazz club with some friends, she took a dare to sing. DeRose did well and enjoyed the experience so much that within a few weeks she was booking herself as a singer. By the time she was becoming well known as a jazz vocalist, her hand had completely recovered, and she became a singer/pianist. In 1991, DeRose moved to New York City, where she began working the club circuit. Since then, she has also become a busy music educator, but appears regularly at jazz festivals. In addition to leading her own trio, DeRose has worked with such major names as Randy Brecker, Bruce Forman, Ray Brown, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Houston Person, and Ken Peplowski. As a solo artist, DeRose made her debut in 1996 with Introducing Dena DeRose on Sharp Nine Records, followed by 1999's Another World, 2001's I Can See Clearly Now, and 2002's Love's Holiday. DeRose next moved to MaxJazz for several well-received albums, including 2005's A Walk in the Park and 2012's Travelin' Light. She then paid tribute to one of her idols, legendary pianist/vocalist Shirley Horn, with 2014's We Won't Forget You: An Homage to Shirley Horn on HighNote Records. In 2016, DeRose released her eighth studio album, United, featuring guest appearances from longtime associates trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and guitarist Peter Bernstein.
La Rosita Two years later, DeRose served as pianist in tenorist Scott Hamilton's quartet on La Rosita, and in 2019 stretched her own boundaries on Alpenglow in Copenhagen serving as pianist in an avant improvising trio with bassist Mads Vindig and improvising vocalist Annette Giesriegl. In 2020, DeRose returned as a bandleader for High Note with Ode to the Road. The set featured her trio with guest trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, saxophonist Houston Person, and vocalist Sheila Jordan on select cuts.
Jazz women in 1990's America
Lena Bloch (b. 1962)
Lena plays marvelous tones. See and hear it for yourself at the opening of "Heart Knows." Who can play like this? Oh yeah, John Coltrane.
““In jazz”, muses Lena Bloch, “many things come together that are thought of as opposites: mind and feeling, responsibility and abandonment, looseness and precision, improvisation and composition. I just love that.”
Born in Moscow, Russia, Lena Bloch immigrated to Israel to attend the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance (now called the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance) and afterwards moved to Europe in 1990, where she became a part of the European jazz scene in Germany and Holland for twelve years.
after moving to Brooklyn, New York🗽 in 2008 has performed with, among others, Dan Tepfer, Roberta Piket, Brad Linde, and Sarah Hughes, George Schuller, Frank Carlberg, Putter Smith, Mark Ferber, Sumi Tonooka, Kim Clarke, Vishnu Wood, and Vladimir Shafranov contributing to the development of the tradition of spontaneous improvising and open musical communication.
a fifteen year disciple of saxophonist Lee Konitz (1927–2020), a close friend.
She was a frontman in Vishnu Wood Quartet (2008-2014) and performed with this group at several festivals (with Vishnu Wood, James Weidman, Bertha Hope, Makaya MacCraven, R J Miller).
Lena has been a part of Lady Got Chops festival (NY State) with groups led by Mala Waldron, Sumi Tonooka, Kim Clarke.
Other musicians Lena has worked with, are Arturo O’Farrill, George Schuller, Putter Smith, Bill Wurtzel, Scott Wendholt and many others.
In 2014 Lena Bloch was invited as a soloist with New York Chamber Players Orchestra, performing the concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra by Eric Koenig at the Merkin Concert Hall.
5 years ago Lena’s own project came to life, when she met the nucleus of her recent quartet: bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Billy Mintz, both stellar musicians with tremendous experience and deep understanding of music. With these colleagues and a very talented young guitarist from Chicago, Dave Miller, Lena recorded her first album as a leader. The album “Feathery” was top-rated in Downbeat Magazine, Pop Culture Classics, Jazz Inside Magazine, New York City Jazz Record, France Musique, Canadian Audiophile, Music Charts Magazine – and was voted the best debut release of 2014 by Dan Morgenstern, as well as one of the top 10 Jazz Albums 2014 (Just Jazz, USA) and top 50 Jazz Albums 2014 (JazzLinks, Austria-Germany).
After Miller’s departure from NYC, Lena’s quartet took a different turn, when in 2014 pianist and composer Russ Lossing joined the group. Lena Bloch Quartet, called Feathery, has been performing regularly since then, presenting original music, written by Lena and Russ. The quartet has performed in various New York City and Brooklyn concert spaces and jazz clubs, has released its album “Heart Knows” in 2017 (Fresh Sound Records) and was selected to perform at the showcase for the 40th National Chamber Music Conference in NYC (2018).
Lena’s inspirations and interests come from her musical experience and study with masters. She studied with Yusef Lateef in Massachusetts, Kaveh Dalir-Azar from Iran in Germany, David Liebman in his European workshops, Dave Holland and Joe Lovano in Banff Canada, and, most notably, with Lee Konitz, whom she met in 2001 in Cologne.
She acquired her Artist Diploma from Cologne Conservatory (Germany), where her teachers were Keith Copeland and John Marshall, with whom she also performed with her quartet.
In Europe Lena Bloch has met and performed with fabulous jazz musicians and masters, such as Mal Waldron, Johnny Griffin, Horace Parlan, Alvin Queen, Jurai Stanik.
In 2000-2002 she was the saxophonist and composer with the legendary jazz percussionist Steve Reid (album “Live In Europe”, Mustevic Records, 2000), along with Boris Netsvetaev and Chris Lachotta.
In 2003, graduate school followed – Master’s Degree in Composition and teaching assistantship at the University of Massachusetts Amherst – study with Salvatore Macchia and Jeff Holmes.
She played the first tenor chair in the Jazz Ensemble and got a “Downbeat Student Award” 2005 and MENC Award 2004 in Minneapolis.
With her unique cultural background, Lena is working in a “singular manner” (as Mark Keresman of NYC Jazz Record puts it), towards an original style and very personal expression. Her inspirations range from Eastern European and Middle Eastern tradition to 20th-21st Century and Western classical music.
Lena is also an active instructor and clinician, teaching woodwinds and improvisation, member of Jazz Education Network, New Music USA and Chamber Music America.
She served as a panelist for National Endowment for the Arts in 2015.
Currently a faculty member at Slope Music, Brooklyn.
– and since then traveled the world, performing in various settings in Israel, Holland, Italy, Germany, Belgium, England, Canada, Russia, Slovenia and United States.
In 1994 Lena received a full scholarship for Jazz In July workshop, to study with Yusef Lateef and Billy Taylor, and won the “Outstanding Performance Award.”
Lena acquired her Artist Diploma cum laude from Cologne Conservatory, Germany, in 1999. There she studied with great American jazz artists Keith Copeland and John Marshall.
In 1999 Lena was granted a full scholarship to attend Jazz Workshop in Banff, Canada, where she studied with Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner and Dave Holland.
In 2001 Lena met her most important teacher, Lee Konitz, who she studied with until recently. Lee introduced Lena to the music of Lennie Tristano’s school, especially Warne Marsh.
Lena received her Master’s of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Composition from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2006, where she was studying with Salvatore Macchia and Jeff Holmes. She played the first tenor chair in the Jazz Ensemble and got a “Downbeat Student Award” 2005 and MENC Award 2004 in Minneapolis.
Since 1993 Lena has been leading her own quartet and trio, writing music and arranging.
With her unique cultural background, Lena is working towards a unique style, her musical influences in jazz ranging from European Classical tradition to Middle Eastern and Turkish music.
Lena became interested in Arabic, Persian and Turkish music in Germany, where she met many immigrant musicians and played in the legendary “Embryo” band, who she toured the Italy with.
In her own compositions, Lena incorporates Middle-Eastern and Eastern European elements into jazz idiom, achieving a unique sound. She is also an inventive improviser and a refreshing performer of standard jazz material.
In Europe Lena has met and performed with fabulous jazz musicians and masters, such as Mal Waldron, Johnny Griffin, Horace Parlan, Keith Copeland, John Marshall, Alvin Queen.
She met the legendary jazz percussionist Steve Reid and recorded a CD with him, “Steve Reid Live In Europe.”
After she moved to United States, Lena worked with Vishnu Wood, Arturo O’Farrill, George Schuller, Billy Mintz, Dave Shapiro, Roberta Piket, Scott Wendholt, Dan Tepfer, Jeremy Stratton, Chris Higgins, Bill Wurtzel, Kim Clarke, Bertha Hope, Ted Brown, Jimmy Wormworth, Taro Okamoto, and Shinnosuke Takahashi.
Lee Konitz invited Lena to sit in with his quintet at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in the summer of 2008, with the band which included Dan Tepfer, Peter Bernstein, Ray Drummond and Matt Wilson.
In 2009 Lena recorded some CD material with Vadim Neselovskyi on piano and George Kaye on bass.
Lena has performed in various venues in NY, such as Birdland, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Smalls Jazz Club, St.Peter Church Jazz Ministry, St.Marks Church, Sofia’s, Fat Cat, Puppets, 5C, The Old Stone House Brooklyn and others.
As a member of other bands, Lena Bloch has played with “Ambassadors of Light” (Vermont), Vermont Jazz Center Big Band, Vishnu Wood Safari East, Kim Clarke’s Inner Circle, Bill Wurtzel Trio, Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz Orchestra and most recently as a guest artist with Brad Linde Ensemble, Lester Young Birthday Tribute and Jimmy Giuffre – Gerry Mulligan projects.
Red Sea Jazz Festival – Eilat, Israel 1990
Leipziger Jazz Newcomers Competition, winner – Lepzig, Germany 2000
Leverkusener Jazz Tage – Leverkusen, Germany, 2001
Ingolstadter Jazz Tage – Ingolstadt, Germany, 2001
Jazz Lent Maribor (with Alvin Queen) – Slovenia 2002
Voronezh Jazz Festival – Russia 2002
Women In Jazz Festival – Amherst MA USA 2004
Lady Got Chops Festival – New York City NY USA, 2010 and 2011
Temple Of The Arts Jazz Festival – 2011, 2012, 2013
Lena’s debut album “Feathery” (2014, Thirteenth Note Records) was top-rated in Downbeat Magazine, Pop Culture Classics, Jazz Inside Magazine, New York City Jazz Record, France Musique, Canadian Audiophile, Music Charts Magazine – and was voted the best debut release of 2014 by Dan Morgenstern, as well as one of the top 10 Jazz Albums 2014 (Just Jazz, USA) and top 50 Jazz Albums 2014 (JazzLinks, Austria-Germany).
Lena currently is leading her quartet with Russ Lossing (piano), Cameron Brown (bass) and Billy Mintz (drums).
Lena is also a creative and inventive educator, successfully teaching woodwinds and jazz improvisation to all ages and levels since 1990, currently a faculty member at Slope Music (Brooklyn).
Selected jazz festivals:
Roberta Gambarini (b. 1965)
ROBERTA GAMBARINI was born in Torino, Italy, into a family where jazz was much loved and appreciated. She began listening to this music as a child and started taking clarinet lessons when she was twelve years old. By the time she was 17, she began singing and performing in jazz clubs around Northern Italy and at the age of 18, she decided to move to Milan to pursue a career as a jazz singer.
Soon after her move to Milan, Roberta took third place in a national jazz radio competition on TV, leading to performance opportunities at jazz festivals throughout Italy. She performed on Jazz broadcasts on Italian radio and TV channels and in 1986 began recording both under her own name and as a guest. In 1997, she worked with French Hammond organ player Emmanuel Bex, touring jazz clubs throughout Italy.
In 1998 she moved to the United States with a scholarship from the New England Conservatory in Boston. Two weeks later, Roberta stunned many in the jazz world with a third place finish in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition.
A dynamic performer with virtuosic vocal chops, she draws rave reviews and enthusiastic fan support wherever she performs. And until her North American debut, Easy to Love (Groovin’ High/Kindred Rhythm), was released on June 6, 2006, she had done so with just word of mouth alone.
On Easy to Love, Roberta showed off her instrumental approach and warm timbre, impeccable timing and intonation, incredible technique and scatting and improvisation skills on a set of 12 excellent jazz standards and classic songs from The Great American Songbook. The album also included two bonus tracks and featured special guest James Moody on a scintillating scat duel.
Easy to Love was nominated for a GRAMMY® in 2007 in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category (along with albums by Karrin Allyson, Nancy King, Diana Krall, and Nancy Wilson). Roberta’s “formidable talent” (DownBeat Magazine) has also garnered her wins as the 2007 Female Jazz Singer of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) and as the 2007 Talent Deserving Wider Recognition from DownBeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll.
On February 12, 2008, Roberta made her major label debut with You Are There (Groovin’ High/Emarcy), a collection of 14 hauntingly beautiful melodies, with the legendary pianist, Hank Jones. The music was recorded in one afternoon; Roberta and Hank had no concept for the album- just 25 tunes they liked and thought would be interesting to record. “There were no isolation booths, no headphones, no over dubs,” Gambarini remembers. “The sound would be just what you would hear had you been in someone’s living room playing among friends.” That is the magic of Hank Jones.
Roberta Gambarini has performed with Michael Brecker, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Slide Hampton, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Hank Jones, Christian McBride, and Toots Thielemans, among many others, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Town Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall, and jazz festivals around the world such as Barbados, London, Monterey, North Sea, Toronto, and Umbria.
Roberta was recently voted Rising Star Female Vocalist of the Year in 2008 DownBeat Critics Poll. Roberta will tour internationally with her band in support of her new album, So In Love, which is scheduled for a Summer 2009 release.
DIVA jazz orchestra
DIVA Jazz Orchestra
See and listen to the DIVA band Live at Birdland swinging away.
recording of four musicians from the jazz big band Diva (founded in 1992)—bassist Melissa Slocum (b. 1961) (center top of album cover), pianist Jill McCarron (b. 1961) (center bottom), alto saxophonist Carol Chaikin (b. 1959) (left on album cover), and drummer Sherrie Maricle (b. 1963) (right on album cover).
Melissa Slocum (born July 26, 1961) is an American double bass player who is active in both jazz and classical music.
The following is an English translation of the German Wikipedia page on Melissa Slocum.
“Life and work: Slocum grew up in a musician household in Ohio (her father was a horn player in the Cleveland Orchestra; her mother, a professor of medieval studies, played the viola) and began playing the piano at the age of three. She was encouraged by her parents to study classical music. She started playing bass guitar at the age of twelve, and a year later she began performing professionally as a musician. A gifted girl, she graduated from high school at the age of 15. By age 18, she had earned a bachelor's degree in classical piano music from Youngstown State University; she spent another year there to get a second degree in art history, specializing in ancient Egyptian art.
Leslie Gourse (1939-2004), Madame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). Clicking on the ISBN number takes you to Amazon.com where you can see inside of this book: ISBN 0-19-508696-1.
Quotations below from Carolyn Glenn Brewer, Changing The Tune: The Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival 1978–1985 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 9–13. Some paragraphs combined into one block quotation.
“When Dianne called Marian (McPartland), the quintet was preparing for a three-night gig in Rochester, New York, and a live recording. Marian had picked an eclectic bouquet of players. Veteran guitarist Mary Osborne, whom many called the best guitarist of her generation, was already well known to New York audiences. Dottie Dodgion on drums had made her reputation playing and singing in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco with Charles Mingus and Al Cohn, among others. Vi Redd's soulfully fearless alto saxophone sound had complimented the groups of both Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie. Marian picked bassist Lynn Milano, the youngest of the group by a generation and a graduate of Eastman, because her sound contradicted her petite size. None of the women had played together as a group before. (bold not in original)
“ . . . Goodman, girls learned to swing as strongly as their dance partners. But firmly established cultural stereotypes kept denying that this was so. In a February 1938 Down Beat opinion piece, an anonymous writer stated, "Women as a whole are emotionally unstable, which prevents their being consistent performers on musical instruments." Bandleader and saxophonist Peggy Gilbert lost no time writing a rebuttal. "The manager is constantly reminding the girls not to take the music so seriously, but to relax, to smile," Gilbert wrote in Down Beat in April of 1938. "How can you smile with a horn in your mouth? How can you relax when a girdle is throttling you and the left brassiere strap holds your arm in a vice?" The undeniable truth was that a female jazz artist's popularity was based on visual attributes rather than musical expertise. Long, flowing, tight-waisted gowns, with billowing sleeves, in cotton candy colors, defined the dress code. Saxophonist Roz Cron remembers a particularly humiliating outfit. "I was playing at the Oriental Theater in Chicago with Ada Leonard's band," Cron recalls. "The manager brought out this god-awful, pink thing and said that was what I was to wear. It had all these flounces and flares and ruffles. I was mortified. I'm a professional, not a dress up doll. I hated that costume with a passion." Another member of the band stated, "A man could have white hair and glasses and weigh 300 pounds, but if he could play, great. The girls had to look like starlets. And the things they put on us were unbelievable." (bold not in original)
“Even the highly successful and popular all-female group Hour of Charm, led by Phil Spitalny, one of the few men to front a girl band, was founded in musical compromise. Spitalny publicly made it clear that he wasn't looking for a powerful, hard-swinging sound. In a band that employed more violins than brass, two pianos, and a harp, it's not surprising their repertoire consisted of mostly mellow, sweet tunes. That also pleased the sponsors of the Sunday night radio show of the same name. The listening public deemed Hour of Charm the ideal all-female band. It wasn't only the jazz world that discriminated against female players. Girl harpists and violinists might be acceptable on a stage clouded with taffeta and sequined dresses. Anonymous female trombonists and bassists could be heard on radio broadcasts without public outcry. But in the male dominated world of symphony orchestras, the subject of female members wasn't even open for discussion. It would be 1982 before the Berlin Philharmonic hired a woman. In Vienna it was 1997.  (bold not in original)
Ingrid Laubrock (b. 1970)
Jazz women in 20th century
🔸 Geri Allen (1957–2017) American (Pittsburgh) pianist, composer, and educator.
🔸 Renee Rosnes (b. 1962) Canadian jazz pianist, composer, and arranger.
🔸 Cindy Blackman Santana (b. 1959) American jazz and rock drummer.
🔸 Jane Bunnett (b. 1956) Canadian soprano saxophonist, flautist, bandleader, and educator especially known for performing Afro-Cuban jazz and often traveling to Cuba.
🔸 Mary Lou Williams (1910–1981)
🔸 Dorothy Donegan (1922–1998) American jazz pianist, vibraphonist, and vocalist, primarily known for performing in the stride piano and boogie-woogie style as well as playing bebop, swing jazz, and even classical music.
🔸 Marian McPartland (1918– 2013) English-American jazz pianist, composer, and writer. hosted "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz" on National Public Radio from 1978 to 2011.
🔸 Mary Osborne (1921–1992) American jazz guitarist
🔸 Toshiko Akiyoshi (b. 1929) Japanese-American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader.
June, the Universal Jazz Coalition will present a four‐day “Salute to Women in Jazz” in New York from Monday, June 26, through Thursday, June 29, in the room at 52d Street and Broadway that was once the legendary Birdland (it is now a disco known as CasaBlanca 2).
The Salute will provide a showcase for some of the women who are not as celebrated as the stars who played in Kansas City, among them
🔸 Carline Ray (b. 1925) American jazz pianist, guitarist, and vocalist. She was a member of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
🔸 Janice Elaine Robinson (b. 1959) American (Pennsylvania) trombonist.
🔸 Patti Bown (1931–2008) American jazz pianist, composer, and singer.
🔸 JoAnne Brackeen (b. 1938) American jazz pianist and music educator.
🔸 Corky Hale (b. 1936), American jazz harpist, pianist, flutist, and vocalist. She has been a theater producer, political activist, restaurateur, and the owner of the Corky Hale women's clothing store in Los Angeles, California.
🔸 Emmelyne "Emme" Kemp (b. 1936), pianist, vocalist, band leader, Broadway composer, actress, lecturer, and an American music researcher. A protégé of Eubie Blake and best known as a Broadway composer and actor for Bubbling Brown Sugar. Acted in the Woody Allen film "Sweet and Lowdown." She has performed throughout the United States, Germany and Japan.
🔸 Jill McManus (b. 1940), American jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and author.
🔸 Nina Sheldon (b. 1940), American pianist, singer, composer and lyricist.
🔸 Led the house band at the Village Gate (1974 –1977) in New York City. Has played with Sonny Stitt, George Coleman, Maxine Sullivan, Budd Johnson, Bobby Hackett, and Vic Dickenson. Taught jazz history and improvisation at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. Performed at major jazz festivals such as Newport jazz festival and the Kool jazz festival in New York and the Kansas City Women's jazz festival.
A set of three records providing background on the involvement of women with jazz, produced by Bernard Brightman.
three disks on “Women in Jazz,” collections of recordings made between 1926 and 1961, providing a very convincing demonstration that women, singly and in groups, have been making impressive contributions to jazz since its earliest recorded days and doing it for the most part, in relative anonymity.
🔸 Vi Burnside (1915–1964), saxophonist
🔸 Vi Redd, saxophonist
🔸 Valaida Snow, trumpeter
🔸 Jean Starr, trumpeter
🔸 Marion Gange, a guitarist
🔸 Terry Pollard, vibes and piano
🔸 Lovie Austin, a pianist in Chicago in the 20's around whom a whole school of male musicians flourished
🔸 International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all‐woman big band
🔸 Beryl Booker, a pianist who is heard urging Miles Davis’ trumpet along on Tadd Dameron's “Squirrel”
🔸 Kathy Stobart, an English saxophonist
🔸 Jutta Hipp, a German pianist
🔸 Japan's ground‐breaking contribution to jazz, Toshiko Akiyoshi, pianist and conductor
Jazz women in 21st Century
Ingrid Jensen, Anat Cohen, Sherrie Maricle and the indomitable DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Geri Allen, Cindy Blackman, Tia Fuller
Kris Davis (b. 1980)
🔸 Canadian jazz pianist and composer
Esperanza Spalding (b. 1984)
🔸Esperanza Spalding (b. 1984) Musician, composer, educator, bandleader on double bass, bass guitar, guitar, vocals
Sarah Milligan (b. 1998)
Performed at the Next Generation Jazz Festival
(from l. to r.: bassist Noriko Ueda, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, clarinetist Anat Cohen,
pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Allison Miller, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, and vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant)
🔸 releases their first album in 2020.
(from l. to r.: pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Noriko Ueda, vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana,
drummer Allison Miller hidden behind to left of clarinetist Anat Cohen, and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen)
Internet & Bibliographic Resources on Women in Jazz
NOTE: The information below varies in formatting and does not conform to standard bibliographic formatting for ease of reading.
Kai EL' Zabar (Executive Director of the eta Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago, IL as of July 2019), "Eleven Jazzy Divas Celebrate Women's History Month," The Chicago Defender, March 9, 2016. The featured vocalists include Joan Collaso, Bobbi Wilsyn, Tecora Rogers, Yvonne Gage, Maggie Brown, Julia Huff, Margaret Murphy-Webb, Lynne Jordan, Frieda Lee, Greta Pope, and Felena Bunn singing the music of Chaka Khan, Nancy WIlson, Ella Fitzgerald, Dianne Reeves, Phyllis Hymen, Abbie Lincoln, Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt and more.
- Lovie Austin, pianist (1887–1972)
- Lil Hardin Armstrong, pianist (1898–1971)
- Valaida Snow, trumpeter (1904–1956)
- Peggy Gilbert, saxophonist (1905–2007)
- Una Mae Carlisle, pianist (1915–1956)
- Ginger Smock, violinist (1920–1995)
- Dorothy Donegan, pianist (1922–1998)
- Jutta Hipp, pianist (1925–2003)
- Clora Bryant, trumpeter (1927–2019)
- Bertha Hope-Booker, pianist (1936– )
- Louise "Lou" Paley and Nina Fine are addressing the gender imbalance in jazz in the United Kingdom in practical and positive ways.
Cecilia Björck and Åsa Bergman, "Making Women in Jazz Visible: Negotiating Discourses of Unity and Diversity in Sweden and the US," IASPM Journal, Vol 8, No 1 (2018).
Abstract: “The aim of this article is to examine responses to a project that aspires to further gender-equal jazz scenes in Sweden and the US. The project brought together actors at various levels of the industry: cultural agencies, commercial organizers, activists, and artists. Our analysis—with special focus on resistance-voiced—is based on observations, interviews with organizers, and a documentary about the project. The project’s central ambition was to make women in jazz visible in order to change a structural imbalance where men still take up most of the space on stage. This ambition was, however, complicated as different actors resisted a female–male binary, and thus the very idea of “women in jazz.” The resistance was played out through gender equality discourses of either unity or diversity, varying in relation to national context and generation. The article also discusses visibility as a central but also problematic aspect for gender equality efforts in music.” (bold and bold italic not in original)
By 1999, little had changed in mainstream jazz historiography as evidenced by the continued absence of many prominent jazzwomen from the jazz sections of the Reader’s Guide to Music History, Theory, and Criticism edited by Jeremy Steib.
Linda Dahl. Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen. New York: Limelight Editions, 1989. In addition to an impressive collection of biographical information and an extensive discography, Dahl includes chapters such as “Equal time: Beyond the Fraternity, Toward Community” and “Building a Support System,” which further contextualize female participation and give voice to a budding movement toward the normalization of gender in jazz.
Angela Y. Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday, first Vintage Books edition, February 1999. Published in the United Slates by Vintage Books, a division of Random Home, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, in 1998.
Jeffrey Taylor, “With Lovie and Lil: Rediscovering Two Chicago Pianists of the 1920s” (conference paper), Society for Music Theory, Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH, November 1, 2002. Reprinted in Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies, Edited by Nichole T. Rustin & Sherrie Tucker, Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.
"A DIY Guide to the History of Women in Jazz" by Laura Pelligrinelli at NPR'S A BLOG SUPREME, May 10, 2013.
"Ireland’s jazz scene continued to grow in strength and diversity in 2019: Smaller regional festivals were major successes while a number of important projects were led by Irish and Irish-based women," The Irish Times News, Saturday, Dec 7, 2019.
Jazz, Gender, Authenticity, Proceedings of the 10th Nordic Jazz Research Conference Stockholm August 30–31 2012, Alf Arvidsson, editor, 2014. The articles published here are the authors’s revised versions of the presentations at the 10th Nordic Jazz Conference: Gender and Notions of Authenticity in Jazz, Stockholm, August 30–31, 2012. ISBN: 978–91–979205–3–7. ISSN: 0281–5567.
"Polyrhythms And Improvization: Lessons For Women's History," Elsa Barkley Brown, History Workshop 31 (1991), 85-90. America: History and Life with Full Text.
"Sound Recordings Reviews," Cheryl L. Keyes (Professor in Department of African American Studies at UCLA and Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Ethnomusicology), Journal Of American Folklore, 105.415 (1992), 73.
"Beyond Beethoven And The Boyz: Women's Music In Relation To History And Culture," Britain Scott and Christiane Harrassowitz, Music Educators Journal, 90.4 (2004), 50.
"Telling Performances: Jazz History Remembered And Remade By The Women In The Band," Sherrie Tucker, The Oral History Review, Volume 26, Issue 1, Winter-Spring 1999, 67–84. http://doi.org/10.1093/ohr/26.1.67
"Black Women Working Together: Jazz, Gender, and the Politics of Validation," Tammy L. Kernodle, Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring), 27-55.
Rosetta Reitz (1924–2008) obituary written by Douglas Martin, "Rosetta Reitz, Champion of Jazz Women, Dies at 84, NY Times, November 14, 2008.
Leslie Gourse, "Madame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Leslie Gourse published Madame Jazz “the most comprehensive list ever assembled of women currently playing instruments professionally.” Gourse provides a balanced look at the bright future of female instrumentalists with an acknowledgment of the reality that chauvinism is (and was) alive and well.
- “Madame Jazz is a fascinating invitation to the inside world of women in jazz. Ranging primarily from the late 1970s to today's vanguard of performance jazz in New York City and on the West Coast, it chronicles a crucial time of transition as women make the leap from novelty acts regarded as second class citizens to sought-out professionals admired and hired for their consummate musicianship. Author Leslie Gourse surveys the scene in the jazz clubs, the concert halls, the festivals, and the recording studios from the musicians' point of view. She finds exciting progress on all fronts, but also lingering discrimination. The growing success of women instrumentalists has been a long time in coming, she writes. Long after women became accepted as writers and, to a lesser extent, as visual artists, women in music—classical, pop, or jazz—faced the nearly insuperable barrier of chauvinism and the still insidious force of tradition and habit that keeps most men performing with the musicians they have always worked with, other men.”
- “Ivy Benson was born to be a musician. A good pianist by the age of ten, she was influenced by the music of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and other jazz legends to become a professional instrumentalist—and at age fifteen, having taught herself to play the clarinet and saxophone, Benson joined an all-girl band in Yorkshire, England. Sax Appeal chronicles Benson’s life—beginning with her childhood of relative poverty, exploring her time as a teenage musician playing in the seedy clubs of London, and highlighting her founding of a professional all-female jazz and swing band that would remain active for over forty years.”
- “In Peggy Gilbert & Her All-Girl Band, Jeannie Gayle Pool profiles the fascinating life of this multi-talented saxophone player, arranger, bandleader, and advocate for women instrumental musicians. Based on oral history interviews and Gilbert's collection of photographs, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia, this book includes many materials not previously available on all-women bands from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.”
Sherrie Tucker. "Telling Performances: Jazz History Remembered and Remade by the Women in the Band." Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture. Volume 1, 1997.
Sherrie Tucker. "Telling Performances: Jazz History Remembered and Remade by the Women in the Band". The Oral History Review (Winter–Spring 1999) 26 (1): 67–84. doi:10.1093/ohr/26.1.67. JSTOR 3675691.
- “The forgotten history of the “all-girl” big bands of the World War II era takes center stage in Sherrie Tucker’s Swing Shift. Although all-female jazz and dance bands had existed since the 1920s, now hundreds of such groups', both African American and white, barnstormed ballrooms, theaters, dance halls, military installations, and makeshift USO stages on the home front and abroad. Filled with firsthand accounts of more than a hundred women who performed during this era and complemented by thorough—and eye-opening—archival research, Swing Shift not only offers a history of this significant aspect of American society and culture but also examines how and why whole bands of dedicated and talented women musicians were dropped from—or never inducted into—our national memory. Comparing the working conditions and public representations of women musicians with figures such as Rosie the Riveter, WACs, USO hostesses, pin-ups, and movie stars, Tucker chronicles the careers of such bands as the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Phil Spitalny’s Hours of Charm, The Darlings of Rhythm, and the Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band.” (bold and bold italic not in original)
Sherrie Tucker. "A Feminist Perspective on New Orleans Jazzwomen," Sherrie Tucker Principal Investigator, submitted by Center for Research University of Kansas, September 30, 2004 to New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park National Park, a study of women in New Orleans jazz, contracted by the National Park Service, completed between 2001 and 2004.
Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Café Society, and An Early Cry for Civil Rights. David Margolick. 2000.
Jazz women: a Feminist Retrospective (1923–57) (Stash) 2 LPs.
Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen. Linda Dahl. New York: Pantheon Books, 1984.
“Women in Jazz, Past and Present.” John S. Wilson. The New York Times. June 11, 1978.
"Women in Jazz Town Hall (A jazz conversation)," hosted by Kaisha S. Johnson, Jazz at Lincoln Center's World Congress 2020.
Jazzwomen Speak: Interviews with Six Musicians, Wayne Enstice and Janis Stockhouse, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013).
The musician's interviewed are: (1) JoAnne Brackeen, piano and composition, (2) Clara Bryant, trumpet, (3) Sheila Jordan, vocals, (4) Abbey Lincoln, vocals, (5) Marian McPartland, piano and composition, (6) Dottie Dodgion, drums.
Maxine Gordon's website. Maxine Gordon has had a long involvement with jazz, including working with the queen of the jazz organ Shirley Scott, producing a son with trumpeter Woody Shaw (1978), becoming wife of saxophonist Dexter Gordon (1983), tour manager for Gil Evan's big band, road manager for the Berlin Jazz Festival (1973), road manager for Dexter Gordon's return from Europe to the United States (1976–1983), author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon (2018), an oral historian and archivist in the fields of jazz and African American cultural history, New York University, M.A., (2001–2009) Ph.D. Candidate, History (African Diaspora). In 2020 still working on her newest book, Jazz Quartette: Shirley Scott, Velma Middleton, Melba Liston, Maxine Sullivan.
🔸 Fiona Ross, "Maxine Gordon and the Jazz Flame," Interview with Maxine Gordon, Part 1, at the Jazz in Europe website, March 8, 2021.
🔸 Fiona Ross, "Maxine Gordon and the Jazz Flame," Interview with Maxine Gordon, Part 2, at the Jazz in Europe website, March 8, 2021.
- Peter Keepnews, "Marian McPartland, Jazz Pianist and NPR Radio Staple, Dies at 95," New York Times, August 21, 2013.
- Dinitia Smith, "When Women Called the Tunes; Rediscovering the Players Who Kept Things Swinging After the Men Went to War, NYTimes, August 10, 2000.
- Kristen A. McGee, Some Liked It Hot: Jazz Women in Film and Television, 1928–1959 (Middleton, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2009), 11.
- Ted Gioia, The History of Jazz 3rd edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 197–199.] First published in 1997 with second revised edition in 2011.
- happyfeetjazz, "Bunk, Bertha & Buddy Bolden," posted on June 3, 2014.
- Sherrie Tucker, "A Feminist Perspective on New Orleans Jazz Women: A NOJNHP Research Study, September 30, 2004, 266–267.
- See Note A., "This Is Bunk Johnson Talking, Explaining To You The Early Days Of New Orleans," Label: American Music – 643, Format: Vinyl, 10", Album, Mono, Country: US, Released: 1952.
- Basilio Serrano, Puerto Rican Women from the Jazz Age (Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2019), Ch. 3.
- Birthdate of Marie Lucas listed as 1891 under the sub-heading "Personal Life" in Wikipedia: Sam Lucas.
- D. Antoinette Handy (1930–2002), Black Women in America's Bands and Orchestras (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1981), 59.
- Eileen Southern (1920–2002), The Music Of Black Americans, 3rd edition (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1997), 349.
- Faye P. Watkins (Dean of University Libraries at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida), "L: Marie Lucas," in Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era ed. Lean'tin L. Bracks and Jessie Carney Smith (Latham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), scroll down to 148.
- Marion Harris, at JazzStandards.com. Accessed July 21, 2021.
- Alex Vadukul, "Viola Smith, 'Fastest Girl Drummer in the World,' Dies at 107," New York Times, published Nov. 6, 2020, updated Nov. 9, 2020.
- Vincent Pelote, Sassy: The Life of Sarah Vaughan, Notes, vol. 51, no. 1, (1994), 204.
- Scott Yanow, "Melba Liston," AllMusic.com. Accessed May 25, 2021.
- Mary Lou Williams Interview, Melody Maker, April to June, 1954.
- Cassandra Jensen, "Top 10 Reasons Mary Lou Williams Should Be Your Favorite Jazz Musician," BlackPublicMedia.org, (March 31, 2015), third paragraph.
- Encyclopedia Brittanica: Mary Lou Williams, first paragraph. Most recently updated on May 25, 2018.
- Tammy L. Kemodle, "Ch. 5: How Do You Keep the Music Playing?," in Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2020), 81.
- As claimed in the Encyclopedia Brittanica: Mary Lou Williams, second paragraph:
“In 1927, when her husband, saxophonist and bandleader John Williams, moved to Oklahoma to join the popular Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy, Mary Lou Williams took over the leadership of his band. She began a successful arranging career in 1929, when she moved to Oklahoma to join her husband with Kirk. During her time with Kirk, the band became well known for her stunning solo piano and highly original arrangements, including “Froggy Bottom,” “Walkin’ and Swingin’,” “Little Joe from Chicago,” “Roll ’Em,” and “Mary’s Idea.” She is widely credited as a major influence for the Kansas City–Southwest Big Band sound that Twelve Clouds of Joy helped to popularize.” (bold not in original)
- Barry Kernfeld (editor), "Mary Lou Williams," The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.
- Encyclopedia Brittanica: Mary Lou Williams, fourth paragraph.
- Alexa Peters, "10 Women Instrumentalists Who Redefine Jazz," Paste magazine, December 1, 2016.
- "Mary Lou Williams," February 23, 2016, TurtleLearning Blog, 8th paragraph. Accessed September 15, 2019.
- Williams performed the full piece for the first time at Saint Francis Xavier Church (located at 46 West 16th Street near 6th Avenue in New York) November, 1962, and she recorded it in October 1963.
- “Tammy L. Kernodle provides a second reason for William's exclusion from most jazz historical narratives: her piano style, composing style, and arranging style defied categorization. Williams mastered each new style from the 1930s into the 1970s, and her arrangements similarly evolved with the passage of time.” in "Mary's Ideas: Big Band Music by Mary Lou Williams," "A Woman's Place in Narratives of Jazz," Theodore E. Buehner, Mary Lou Williams: Selected Works in Big Band, edited by Theodore E. Buehner, (Middleton, Wisconsin: A-R Editions, Inc, 2013), xiii.
- According to John S. Wilson, "Mary Lou Williams, A Jazz Great, Dies," NYTimes Obituary, May 30, 1981, 5th paragraph.
- John S. Wilson, "Mary Lou Williams, A Jazz Great, Dies," NYTimes Obituary, May 30, 1981, Section 1, 21.
- Karen Chilton, "Hazel Scott's Lifetime of High Notes," SmithsonianMag.com, October 15, 2009, quoted at Wikipedia: Hazel Scott.
- Karen Chilton, (author of Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist, from Café Society to Hollywood to HUAC), "Hazel Scott’s Lifetime of High Notes," SmithsonianMag.com, October 15, 2009. Accessed May 25, 2021.
- Murray Horwitz, "Review: Hazel Scott: 'Relaxed Piano Moods,' NPR (National Public Radio) Music, August 1, 2001.
- Lee Mergner, Review of Karen Chilton's Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist, from Café Society to Hollywood to HUAC, in Jazz Times, reposted entirely at Feel the Blues with all that jazz.
- Hipp's biographer, Katja von Schuttenbach, tells JazzWax's Marc Myers that Hipp worked in jazz until around 1960 at "Jutta Hipp: The Inside Story."
- "Jutta Hipp: The Inside Story," JazzWax by Marc Myers, May 28, 2013.
- Marc Myers, "Jutta Hipp in Germany: 1952–55," JazzWax.com, May 22, 2013.
- "Unsung Women of Jazz # 5 – Jutta Hipp, Curt's Jazz Cafe.
- Carolyn Glenn Brewer, Changing The Tune: The Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival 1978–1985 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 9–10.
- Carolyn Glenn Brewer, Changing The Tune: The Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival 1978–1985 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 10.
- Carolyn Glenn Brewer, Changing The Tune: The Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival 1978–1985 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 12.
- Carolyn Glenn Brewer, Changing The Tune: The Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival 1978–1985 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 12.
- Carolyn Glenn Brewer, Changing The Tune: The Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival 1978–1985 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 12–13.
- Cecilia Björck, Åsa Bergman "Making Women in Jazz Visible: Negotiating Discourses of Unity and Diversity in Sweden and the US," IASPM Journal, Vol 8, No 1 (2018).
- Sherrie Tucker, Blurb for Swing Shift "All-Girl" Bands of the 1940s (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2000).