Untold Stories of "The Girls in the Band"

CNC reporting from Los Angeles
Added On May 30, 2013

Jazz is a genre of music that started in the United States in the early 20th century.

It is normally recognized as the market that dominated by males. However, the documentary "The Girls in the Band" revealed the poignant, untold stories of female jazz players and their groundbreaking journeys from the late 30's to the present day.

Lifestyles has the story.

How would a girl achieve great accomplishments in Jazz? Recently, CNC correspondent sat down with the crew of the movie to learn where the idea came from.

"I come from a family with musicians, and I've been around with music all my life, and one day a friend came to me and said, 'you know I met a woman last night who is 90 years old, she said that she was a drummer in the big bands in the 1940s.' and I said, 'I don't think so, because I knew about all the big bands. I love the big bands. I know who the musicians were, and I never heard of a woman playing an instrument in big bands, and she said, 'no, this woman said she played in bands, she named a band that she played with.' I said, 'I don't think that's true, but if it is, it would be interesting.' So it kind of got me curious about it, and I started to do a little research, and what I discovered was a whole world of women musicians who I know nothing about and nobody knew anything about, and that's what it began the story."

"I am the associated producer of 'The Girls in the Band', and my role was basically to find archive, and research footage, clear footage, you know, help Judy with anything she needs, so it's been fun."

Written and directed by Judy Chaikin, the documentary traced over 50 years back in the golden era of Jazz.

By mainly focus on women musicians, Judy tells stories about some talented women who endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades.

"When I was a young girl, I played in a band in junior high school, and the boys were very mean to me, so I dropped out, and I decided to do something else of my life, but when I met some of these other women, I realized it wasn't just me had that experience, it was all women."

Although women had encountered many difficulties when they were perusing their music career, they did manage a way to break through. For example, a woman musician found out how to play trumpet by one hand.

"Because she plays differently than a man, she has made possible for women to play differently, they don't have to play like men, but they are wonderful players in their own way. So how that would change the music? I'm not sure, but it does bring a different feminine aspect to it."

The musicians who is active in 1950s are around the America, Judy traveled all over the United States in order to talk to them. After 8 years' research, she collected a lot of archives and material as the references for the jazz history.

As a female director, Judy herself is also a big fan of music, especially jazz.

"I've been around music all my life, all kinds of music, classical, big bands, jazz, and the influence that it had on me as a person, as an artist, has been very profound, so when I got a chance to work with something that incorporated that part of my life. I was very happy about it."

Women are an important part of the society. By creating this movie, Judy wishes to bring a positive influence to the music industry, making more people to recognize women's position and accomplishment in music world.

"I think the film would have impact on the music world because man musicians see this film and they are astonished, they did not know about these women, and being musicians they appreciate musicianship whatever they find it, not men or women, they just think this is a wonderful musician, so it will have an impact that way, but I think the larger impact is for all women to see how women have to empower themselves, how women have to take their part of the world in their hands and make it important, and it would be better for anybody."

"The Girl in the Band" is an informative movie. By spreading out the successful women's stories in the olden times and shares the history of women in jazz music, this movie borders the view of general women.

"We want girls everywhere to know, they have an important role to play in the world."