This project started after my friend and fellow saxophonist, Sarah Milligan, sent me down an International Sweethearts of Rhythm rabbit-hole (Thank you, Sarah!). It happened to be the second day of March, which also happens to be “women’s month,” so I decided to take the opportunity to research some of the women throughout jazz history who are not as well-known or at least weren’t known to me. I started by reading, listening, and writing about a different jazzwoman each day for the month, which began as a casual exploration and quickly turned into a much larger project. In order to learn how to better present this work, I began to delve into the conversation around gender and jazz over time, surveying every source on the topic I could find. (See the post Including Jazzwomen: Past, Present, and Future to read the culmination of that survey.) It has been one of the most inspiring journeys of my musical life thus far.
Through this research, I was not only exposed to a wealth of jazzwomen who helped to pave the way forward in jazz, but I also became familiar with the work of several authors/filmmakers whose work has been highly influential to me and will be referenced in this blog: Sherrie Tucker, Linda Dahl, Sally Placksin, Judy Chaikin, Kristin McGee, and Nichole Rustin-Pashal (thanks again to Sarah for hipping me to Sherrie Tucker’s work). These women have contributed greatly to shedding light on the lives of previously under-represented jazzwomen as well as exploring gender dynamics in jazz and I want to thank them for their efforts.
My plan is to continue the research as much as I am able given my current schedule as a graduate student and performer and to keep adding to the web presence of these women. Each vignette is meant merely as a jumping-off point for further research and listening, rather than an exhaustive biography. I hope you find as much inspiration and enjoyment in learning about and hearing these musicians as I have. Many thanks and much love!