A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

The Girls In The Band

Here’s something interesting from a cultural and musical vantage that I found when Jackie from Lindsey Tree Music posted in the Bass Blogs group on FB. Its a trailer for The Girls In The Band, a documentary with and about women from the jazz/bebop scene who were excellent musicians, but because of the influence of patriarchy, were marginalized and not given the credit they were due as amazing players – something that has repeated since in other styles of music, as well as areas outside of music. Some of the women were also black, so they had a double-whammy to deal with as this predates the civil rights movement in America.

The Girls In The Band 

Here’s some info from the About page on the official site:

They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kowtowed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. In the thirties and forties, hundreds of women musicians toured the country in glamorous All-Girl Bands, while others played side by side with their male counterparts. Yet by the mid-fifties female jazz musicians had literally disappeared from the workplace; their names, their contributions to music, completely forgotten. 

THE GIRLS IN THE BAND tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 30s to the present day. 

These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. Today, there is a new breed of gifted young women taking their rightful place in the world of jazz, which can no longer deny their talents.

Looking at the Musicians page on their website, it features Roz Cron (saxophone), Melba Liston (trombone), Marian McPartland (piano) and Clora Bryant (trumpet). For you other bassists out there, this is exactly the time that Carol Kaye would also have been playing bebop, before that rock & roll stuff was even a glimmer in anyone’s eye.

This is probably also a great companion-piece to She Rocks, which is a bit more modern and deals with women in rock music, including bassist Nik West.

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