Roz was a gifted saxophone player with a beautiful tone and ability to read anything that was put in front of her. From the time she was 16, she was being wooed by big bands, but her parents wouldn’t let…
Melba Liston was a trombone player who was nothing less than a force of nature. In addition to being sought after for her second-to-none slide playing, she became widely revered for her jazz arrangements and compositions. She is, without question, one of the unsung heroes of the jazz genre.
If ever the word timeless applied to a musical figure, it would be Marian McPartland.
To listen to her radio program, Piano Jazz, which has been running continuously on NPR since 1976, is to hear a woman at ease with great jazz composers like Bill Evans to the most contemporary artists such as Alicia Keyes. Her vast curiosity and sincere interest in other musicians has kept her forever young. And that’s how I found her to be when I first met her in 2007.
“Those male trumpet players guard those positions like a bulldog on a bone. We got a tough row to hoe with the trumpet.” So said jazz trumpeter Clora Bryant in an interview for a National Public Radio program in 1993.
One fateful day in 1993 a chance push of a button on my car radio introduced me to Clora Bryant. The program, All-Women Bands of the ‘20s, 30s, and 40s, was an eye (and ear) opener for me. Although I had played trumpet professionally for 30-plus years, I had never heard of Clora or any of the other women on the program.