Women of Jazz

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azz evolved from ragtime, an American style of syncopated instrumental music. Jazz first materialized in New Orleans, and it is often distinguished by African American musical innovation. Multiple types of Jazz exist today from the dance-oriented music of the 1920s. The new genre of music that was initially seen as socially unacceptable grew into an expression of high art and as a result of many pioneering African American women.

The most celebrated all-women Jazz and dance bands were the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. They started as a fundraising effort for the Piney Woods Country Life School in Rankin County, Mississippi. The school’s principal Laurence C. Jones organized the all-girl band to plat local dances and parties to secure the dances of the institution. Other African American women’s Jazz bands followed quickly, including the Prairie View Coeds, The Darlings of Rhythm, and Eddie Durham’s All-Star Girl Orchestra.

International Sweethearts of Rhythm
Prairie View Coeds
The Darlings of Rhythm
Eddie Durham’s All-Star Girl Orchestra.

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