For My Sisters
THE LADIES WHO SING WITH THE BAND...Before, they were only an extra added attraction, which shouldn't interfere with the music: girls, some pretty, some not so, in a world dominated by men; dressed in silks and satins, sequins or velvet gowns - made over like Hollywood starlets with nice voices which had to compete with hot pianos, thumping basses, driving drums, blaring horns and sexism and racism. It was about music; melodies and Lyrics, raunchy and raw, heart-rending and soulful, revealing and poetic that cried out for vocal interpretation. It was about the challenge to be accepted and heard - but sometimes a microphone wasn't enough. A challenge which was met by many but only the gifted and truly talented accomplished more: they stopped taking money from the tables and turned them. They went from the position of 'the Lady who sings with the band' and arose to the status of 'the Lady the band plays for'. Using their vocal instruments they were promoted from 'Hey, girl' to singers, vocalists, song stylists, musicians...equals. Over the years they have given jazz 'A woman's touch', adding to it a pinch of spice and a heap of style. They kept time to a style of music that was ever changing and never stood still. Not just singing along but interpreting a song and making it their own.