The ladies of jazz have a story to tell. That’s the central theme of a special film screening Thursday, March 13 of “Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women in Jazz,” a documentary capturing the lost stories of American women jazz instrumentalists from the early 1920s to the 1970s. Film producer Kay Ray along with New Orleans female jazz musicians Banu Gibson, Cindy Mayes, Jenna McSwain, Cindy Scott and Amy Sharpe will headline a Q-and-A panel following the film. Bruce Raeburn, curator of the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, will serve as moderator.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will kick off with a reception at 7 p.m. followed by the film viewing at 7:30 p.m. in Bobet Hall, room 332 on the Loyola’s main campus. The Q-and-A will immediately follow the film.
“Jazz has been a man’s world for 100 years,” said event organizer and Loyola music professor Sanford Hinderlie. “You hardly heard of the women, but there were excellent female jazz instrumentalists who were part of that scene.”
Hinderlie recalls his personal interaction with one of those great women in jazz featured in the documentary—the famed jazz pianist Marian McPartland—who came to Loyola to record her National Public Radio show when she was in her 80s (the radio show is NPR’s longest-running jazz program). Hinderlie recorded her show with Ellis Marsalis in one of Loyola’s studios.
“She was a well-known figure in jazz for 50 years. It was a treat for me as a jazz pianist to be able to interact with her,” Hinderlie said.
Along with McPartland, the “Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women in Jazz” documentary features interviews with Peggy Gilbert, Carline Ray, Quincy Jones, Jane Sager and many others. The 90-minute film, sponsored by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, captures the stories of female jazz musicians in provocative and often humorous interviews with women musicians, big band leaders, jazz authors and historians. Musician and composer Patrice Rushen guides viewers through the histories featuring rare photos, previously unseen film and television footage, and scarce recordings.
The event is sponsored by Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts, the Women’s Studies interdisciplinary minor and the Women’s Resource Center.