Melba Liston Research Paper

1371 Words6 Pages
Valaida Snow, Viola (Vi) Burnside, and Melba Liston were three revolutionary female pioneers in jazz. In the book The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Billy Taylor says, “If one were to ask the average jazz enthusiast to name twenty first-rate jazz instrumentalists...the list...would probably include one or two women…[d]espite the fact that from the earliest days of jazz to the present women have made important and lasting contributions to the common vocabulary and the evolution of the music” (qtd. in Handy x). Each of these three women and others like them have contributed to the jazz idiom in their own way, but this is a man’s world (although it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl) their time to shine seemed to have…show more content…
The Pineywood Country Life School started by Dr. Laurence C. Jones gave opportunity to girls and boys who were were socioeconomically disadvantaged. It was Jones’ vision to create the band which could help fundraise the schools economic needs. The school is now the largest African-American boarding school. According to Cathy Hughes, Dr. Jones’s granddaughter, Dr. Jones’ sister was a music teacher who taught Coleman Hawkins how to play. Although the band she played in was established long before the 1940’s this is the time that they were noticed and became “popular”. It should also be noted that this was a time when the percentage of women entering the workforce began to flow as a function of the ebb in the male population that were fighting overseas. In the book Swing Shift by Sherrie Tucker says, “[for] [t]he fellas, it was a novelty to them to come see these girls play. They said, “Those girls play like men” (205). This accentuates the ideology of the time that there was a difference between gender and gender roles in the workforce. However, in the video Women and Jazz: International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Cathy Hughes says that Quincy Jones told her that the first place Ray Charles ever took him was to hear the Sweethearts in an after-hours joint, a jook joint and hence the name of his album “Q’s Jook Joint” as well as telling her that “those girls didn’t play like men they were better than men”. Burnside was also well known for her coed cutting sessions in which she would square off with men as well as her “Lester Young”
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