Charts of Elegance

When the subjects of jazz and jazz history are discussed, the focus is often on the contributions of male artists. This column is a celebration of the female voice, both vocal and instrumental, who have contributed to jazz historically as well as in present-day.

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Soulful Stylings - Exploring the music of Vi Redd

Read "Soulful Stylings - Exploring the music of Vi Redd" reviewed by Ava Louise


Born in 1928, Elvira Louise Redd Vi Redd grew up in a household full of music and was influenced greatly by her father, jazz musician Alton Redd. She picked up the saxophone at age 12 and began performing professionally at the age of 20. At 34, she became the first female instrumentalist to headline at a jazz festival. In spite of the fact that Vi became an accomplished saxophonist who performed with well-known artists such as Count Basie, ...

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Simply Nina: A look back at the illustrious career of jazz legend Nina Simone

Read "Simply Nina: A look back at the illustrious career of jazz legend Nina Simone" reviewed by Ava Louise


It is fitting that after a month dedicated to Jazz Appreciation, we come to the work of Nina Simone. Arguably one of the most talented jazz artists, Nina garners high praise across many demographics. What made her such an influential musician and vocalist? Her voice was deep with a richness and emotive intensity that made her singing unforgettable. She played and sang with an intensity that was and is unmatched. There was an explosiveness of emotion that was ...

3

Melba and Her Horn - Accomplishments of the Great Melba Liston

Read "Melba and Her Horn - Accomplishments of the Great Melba Liston" reviewed by Ava Louise


Born in 1926 in Kansas City, Missouri, Melba Liston had an early interest in music. She saw a trombone when she was young and was taken by its beauty. Her family encouraged her interest in music and in learning to play the trombone. When her family moved to Los Angeles, she began to study music formally. This training would strongly inform her career, from instrumental performance to musical composition and arrangement. Melba had a remarkable career for multiple ...

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The Outstanding Contributions of Beryl Booker

Read "The Outstanding Contributions of Beryl Booker" reviewed by Ava Louise


Beryl Booker was a highly respected and successful jazz musician, and she was outstanding in many progressive ways throughout her short career. Born in Philadelphia in 1922, Beryl was a largely self-taught musician and vocalist. She created a distinctive style of swing piano which was very bold and confident. Listening to her performances, one can feel the sincerity and emotion driving each piece. She had a keen sense of timing and used the shortening and lengthening of notes ...

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The Timeless Voice Of Billie Holiday

Read "The Timeless Voice Of Billie Holiday" reviewed by Ava Louise


The name Billie Holiday seems indelibly linked with jazz. Her vocal quality and style were unique and masterful, and her work helped to define the genre. Modern jazz musicians and vocalists earn their chops from refining their performance of standards and many of these were recorded and performed for the first time by Holiday. She was also a pioneer in civil rights activism through protest song performance. By her own account, she was a vocalist who needed a ...


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