Sure, she was married to one of the most famous men in jazz, but Lil Hardin was – much more importantly – an accomplished singer, pianist, composer, arranger, band leader and business woman.
Hardin was a part of King Oliver’s Creole band, Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, lots of other smaller projects, and of course led her own band. She’s popularly credited with pushing Louis Armstrong into a career of his own, outside the Oliver band.
Hardin recorded with Armstrong’s Hot Five in 1927, playing the song ‘Struttin with some Barbeque’ which she composed.
NB: I’m trying to list a different woman jazz musician every day for Women’s History Month. You can read this post for more info.