Category: cat blogging

  • Women’s History Month: Nina Simone!

    There’s no trying to pretend that Nina Simone was a jazz era musician. She was born in 1933, and though she began playing piano at the age of six, she reached mainstream popularity in the 50s and 60s. Despite this historical distance from the ‘jazz era’, Simone’s playing and singing was clearly informed by classic […]

  • Women’s History Month: Eve Rees and her Merrymakers!

    Eve Rees and her Merrymakers were an all-female dance band from Australia. They were very popular, touring extensively in rural and city Australia in the 1920s and to a lesser extent in the 1930s. Despite their popularity, it’s hard to discover much about them. A dodgy Trove search gives only three hits, and much of […]

  • Women’s History Month: Susie Edwards!

    I’m a big fan of hokum, mostly because I’m a big fan of clowning for its subversive power, and I love blues sung by arse kicking women. Susie Edwards (née Hawthorne) was one half of the husband and wife team ‘Butterbeans and Susie’, performing with her husband Jodie Edwards on stage, in vaudville, theatre and […]

  • Women’s History Month: Bessie Smith!

    Composer, musician, singer, EXTREME BADARSE PERFORMER. There are dramatic stories about Smith seeing off violent white men in her tent shows, about her numerous lovers of both sexes, and about her violent death. My favourite is the one about working with a young Louis Armstrong, where she demanded that he play a little less enthusiastically […]

  • Women’s History Month: Clora Bryant!

    Another suggestion from a friend. Again, I’d never heard of Clora Bryant before she was recommended by the Buggzor (herself a brass instrumentalist of Repute). But now I have. Clora Bryant was born in 1927 and is a trumpeter. She played with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm and you can listen to her play a […]

  • Women’s History Month: Billie Holiday!

    (image by Gjon Mili in 1943, New York, from the Google Life Magazine collection Happy International Women’s Day! Today I’m doing Billie Holiday, even though she’s hardly an unknown, because she is my favourite. Billie Holiday, singer, actress, performer. (Billie Holiday – The Blues Are Brewin’)

  • Women’s History Month: Victoria Spivey!

    Another musician/composer powerhouse, Spivey sang, composed, played the piano and ukulele and was a key player in the 1960s blues revival as well as during the blues craze of the 1920s. She managed her own record label (Spivey Records) AND performed in the ‘Hellzapoppin’ Revue’ stage show. Here she is singing my favourite of her […]

  • Women’s History Month 2012: Lil Hardin Armstrong!

    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 […]

  • Women’s History Month 2012: Mary Lou Williams

    Mary Lou Williams was a phenomenal piano player, and one of the few who’s generally (though not hugely) well known in the lindy hopping world. She’s probably best known for her work with Andy Kirk’s band – as pianist and arranger but she went on to become an well known public figure and performer. Read […]

  • Women’s History Month 2012

    (photo stolen from here) Women’s History Month is just about here again. Ah, March, season of Power Vag and Orsm Ovary. Time of Menopausal Might and Menarchal Majesty. Moonth of Fuck All That Biological Determinism, Let’s Get On With Doing Mad Shit. This year’s theme is Women With a Plan: architects, town planners and landscape […]