The Girls in the Band
They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kow-towed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved.
The Girls in the Band tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 1930s to the present day.
These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. Today, a new breed of gifted young women are taking their rightful place in the world of jazz which can no longer deny their talents.
Some of the artists featured in The Girls in the Band are Melba Liston, Roz Cron and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Clora Bryant, Cindy Blackman, Marian McPartland, Mary Lou Williams, and many more.
Judy Chaikin: Director and Producer
Judy Chaikin is a graduate of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women and is best known for writing, producing and directing the Emmy nominated PBS documentary, Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist. In 2004 she received her second Emmy nomination for the documentary Building on a Dream: The NoHo Art Project. Recently she directed and co-wrote the short romantic-comedy film, Cotillion ‘65, which has appeared in 40 film festivals winning Best Short, Best Comedy, Best Director and Audience Choice Awards. Ms. Chaikin was a Supervising Producer/Segment Director on the ABC series, FBI: The Untold Stories, a Co-Producer of the CBS Movie Of The Week, Stolen Innocence, the Writer/Director of the bi-lingual PBS documentary, Los Pastores and in 1996, Chaikin won the Blue Ribbon at the American Educational Film and TV Festival for the docu-drama, Sojourner Truth:Ain’t I A Woman, featuring Julie Harris. Her other directing work includes the MTV underground hit by Kommunity FK Something Inside Me Has Died, the Nickelodeon series On The Television, the Broadway production of Yenta Unplugged and the Odyssey Theater production of Martin Sherman’s Rose.
“A lock for widespread fest travels and ancillary sales, the pic may prompt a rewrite of jazz history…”
“A fascinating, moving and wonderfully tuneful documentary…powerful examination of the struggles by talented musicians to break into the resolutely male world of jazz.”
-- Screen Daily International
“While the film…doesn’t focus solely on black female jazz musicians, it does expose the double discrimination instrumentalists like Mary Lou Williams faced for not only being female, but also black…”
-- Madame Noire
“The girls in the band are irreducible to our unblinking gazes and frozen silhouettes, and they inhabit multiple subject positions simultaneously…both of which demand further critical engagement.”
-- The Feminist Wire
“There’s a wonderful film called The Girls in the Band, which is rescuing a lot of all-female bands from the jazz era that I’d never heard of [from oblivion],” says Franey. ‘It’s great, these are amazing musicians. It’s wonderful to watch.’”
-- Vancouver Sun