March being Women’s History Month, and mistermuse being a classic jazz enthusiast, I’d be remiss to let this conjunction of constellations pass without honoring women’s place in jazz history. Though I can’t expound on these subjects at length in one post, I’ll highlight my favorite period in jazz history — the 1920s, 30s and 40s — and the all-girl bands of that time, as opposed to female jazz vocalists of the period, because the latter are much better known (Billie Holiday, for example) than the former, and their legacy has far better survived that era’s male-dominated world of jazz and popular music.
Starting with the 1920’s, here is one of the first and foremost all-girl bands of the period:
Moving on to the 1930s & 40s….
As the latter clip demonstrates, African-American female musicians faced not only gender, but racial, discrimination — not so much from white musicians as from the powers behind the scenes and the general public….and not just in the South. The were exceptions, but the best jazz musicians didn’t sweat skin color — if you could play, you should play.
There is much more that could be said along the lines of this post; perhaps I’ll do so in a future post.