“Only God can make a tree; only men can play jazz,” said George Simon, the late American jazz composer and drummer.
Director Judy Chaikin’s new documentary, The Girls In The Band, dismisses that notion, highlighting the untold stories of women jazz and big band instrumentalists, from the 1930s to the present day.
I’d say, for the average enthusiast, it’s likely an easier challenge to name women jazz vocalists than instrumentalists. Images like the one above probably aren’t the first to come to mind when most of us think of jazz music. And Chaikin’s doc hopes to influence that, with this poignant narrative, which includes lots of wonderful archival footage, telling the fascinating stories about lives and careers of these trailblazing women who endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them.
The film also looks at the present-day young women who are following in the footsteps of those who paved the way for them in the male-dominated world of jazz.
The Girls In The Band makes its international debut at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival, which runs from December 7th through the 14th; and according to the film’s website, playdates in several US cities will follow, NYC, San Francisco, Washington DC, New Orleans and more.
Watch the trailer below: