15 December 2014


I can't keep pace with what's going on. There are so many thrilling videos on YouTube of YOUNG musicians in New Orleans reviving and refreshing in modern ways the great old traditional jazz music of the 1920s and 1930s.

And you - dear readers - keep sending me emails saying 'Have you watched.....?' and making a recommendation or two. So I am constantly being introduced to bands I had not heard before.

One thing that has struck me forcibly is the number of young LADIES who are now involved in making the music. So I want to say a word or two on that topic today.

Of course, there have been ladies playing traditional jazz (and plenty providing the vocals) since the earliest days. Mainly, though, they were pianists. Today, it's not unusual to come across - for example - a lady jazz trombonist.

I have always thought Lil Hardin has been under-rated. She was the force that propelled her then-husband Louis Armstrong into prominence. But she was also a fine classically-trained pianist and one of the important early composers of jazz tunes, some of which are now standards. Without her composing for Louis (and others) and playing the piano on so many early recordings, the jazz legacy would be much the poorer.

Today, we have many brilliant ladies involved in the music. Having written so much about them before, I will refrain today from mentioning the great ladies of Tuba Skinny. But here are some of the others whose work I admire, together with suggested introductions to them on YouTube.

Bria Skonberg (trumpet) and Emily Asher (trombone): CLICK HERE.

Marla Dixon (trumpet) runs The Shotgun Jazz Band in New Orleans and their music has become the most exciting to be heard anywhere: CLICK HERE.

Haruka Kikuchi grew up in Japan but has been settled for quite a while in New Orleans. It would be difficult to find a better traditional jazz trombonist anywhere on the scene today. Click here.

Doreen Ketchens (clarinet)  is a great improviser, bandleader and entertainer on the streets of New Orleans: CLICK HERE. And (for interesting interview information): CLICK HERE.

Debbie Schreyer (banjo) has an extraordinary mastery of the instrument: CLICK HERE.

Aurora Nealand (reeds) is a technically brilliant player and also no mean singer: CLICK HERE.

Chloe Feoranzo 
(clarinet, sax, singing) is absolutely sensational; and still so young. Have you seen her amazing performance of Bye Bye Blues (final two minutes) in the duet with James Evans? Click here.
Gunhild Carling (trombone, trumpet, etc.) has been playing jazz well since she was a little girl:
CLICK HERE. As an adult, Gunhild has played any number of instruments and in various combinations of musicians: CLICK HERE.

Annie Hawkins (string bass), based in England, is an Australian-born, much-in-demand musician, who adds enormous power and zest to every band in which she plays. CLICK HERE.

Any others you would like me to add to this list?
Anita Thomas (reeds)
Add Anita Thomas to your list.  She is a great clarinetist originally from Australia. Appears 
in numerous YT videos.  She has been the clarinet instructor many times at the Jazz Camp 
sponsored by the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society.
Stan Cummings

Betty Smith (saxophone)
Sam Wood would like to draw our attention to this lady from the English Midlands, who died in 2011 at the age of 81.