Women in Jazz, Blues, Soul, R&B
Lil Hardin Armstrong
Biography of Lil Hardin Armstrong, jazz pianist, married for a time to Louis Armstrong whose career she promoted. She played with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, among others, and plays on Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives and Hot Sevens recordings, among others.
Biography and links for this pioneer African American jazz singer and entertainer whose career was shadowed by racism. From your Women's History Guide.
A profile of Lena Horne, African American singer and actress, from Jone Johnson Lewis, About Women's History Guide.
Lena Horne Quotes
Quotes from actress and singer Lena Horne.
Read about Nina Simone, singer and activist who lived outside the United States in reaction to the racism of her native land.
Nina Simone was a classically trained pianist whose singing mixed genres of classical music, jazz, blues and soul -- and her music and outspoken ideas on American racism reflected and became part of civil rights and black power history. Several of her songs, including her cover of Sinatra's "My Way," became feminist classics as well.
Remembering Nina Simone - Books, Videos, Music
Nina Simone (1935-2003), the "High Priestess of Soul" in the 1960s, was always difficult to classify into a particular musical style: soul, blues, jazz, protest -- all of the above and none of them; she was a classical pianist, as well. Her anger at America, expressed in "Mississippi Goddam," eased in her later years, but she continued to live outside the country where she'd encountered injustice.
Bessie Smith - Photographs by Carl Van Vechten
A series of photographs by the notable photographer, Carl Van Vechten, of the "Empress of the Blues" Bessie Smith. Small and large versions available.
The "last of the red hot mamas" was a 50-year hit with the American and English public.
Posters of Women in Jazz
Women's contribution to jazz has been mostly as singers, though a few have also been instrumentalists. If you'd like to give some of the ladies of jazz a place in your home, office or classroom, here are some posters and art prints featuring Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and -- in a rare treat -- Lil Armstrong, appearing with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band.
Top Albums: Women in Jazz and the Blues
The history of jazz and the blues has featured a few fantastic women as vocalists and some, though fewer, as instrumentalists. These selections highlight some of the women who've made contributions to jazz and blues history. If you're interested in expanding or deepening your knowledge of women in jazz and the blues, here are some suggested albums to get started with.
Sweet Honey in the Rock
Celebrating their 25th anniversary in 1999, Sweet Honey in the Rock is noted for their a capella music rooted in African and African American culture.
"Time 100" tribute to the Queen of Soul includes 3-page biography, timeline, image, a 1968 Time Magazine review of her soul music, and quotations.