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 more about Williams here in this fascinating biography (which is where I found that image at the top of this post).

Williams composed, arranged and played on this 1938 version of ‘Little Joe From Chicago’, as well as heaps of other well-known songs by the Kirk band.

(Andy Kirk and his twelve clouds of joy – Little Joe from Chicago)

(An untagged photo of Mary Lou Williams in the Gjon Mili Life Magazine collection)

NB That’s Pearl Primus in the back, to the left.

Women’s History Month 2012: Ina Ray Hutton and her Melodears!

Women’s History Month is here again, and this month I’m going to do a different woman jazz musician every day. I’m away in Melbourne for a weekend of actual, real live dancing, so I’ve pre-written this post. Hopefully it publishes properly.
I’ve started by stealing a post from last year because I haven’t had a chance to research this properly (you can read all my pathetic excuses here in this post.)

Here’s a whole band full of amazing jazz women: Ina Rae Hutton and her Melodears!


You can read more about Hutton in this good little Guardian article from last year (which is where I found that cool photo).

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 architects and I had planned to list a different woman choreographer each day, but I’m just about to go away and didn’t get any research done. Bad Girl! Then I decided I’d lift a few Excellent Jazz Women of Win from last year’s posts and put some new ones together when I get back. Because, frankly, it’s probably more important that a woman’s out there actually dancing than writing about dance, right?

Now I’m wondering if I should do a different woman jazz musician every day instead. Just repeating dancers from last year won’t really teach me much, and I found that having to scrabble to find a different woman dancer taught me a lot last year. And it wasn’t actually hard to find 31 different women dancers – I ended up with plenty more than I needed! The best part was hassling all my dance history friends for help and details :D
Ok, this year I’ll do musicians. But I don’t really have time to put together some posts ahead of time for this weekend when I’m away dancing. So I might have to make them up at the end of the weekend instead, Ok? I might borrow one from last month to start me off, though.

Just to add to the challenge, to celebrate Women’s History Month, I might see if I can do zero following in March, and only lead. This is going to break my heart when male (lead) friends ask me to dance, particularly while I’m away this weekend, but I’ll see just how long I can go. Why do this? Well, I just thought of it then when I was thinking, and I like a challenge. Also: why the fuck not?

Women’s History Month: month of potty mouthed blog posts, it seems.

Ok, get ready for me to come begging for ideas for women musicians mid-way through March. I’m probably going to end up needing your help. :D