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Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Billie Holiday easily come to mind when thinking about iconic jazz vocalists of the early 1900s, but what about “the girls in the band?” A new documentary film by that name will tell the untold stories of female jazz instrumentalists dating back as early as the 1930s, up to the present era.

While the film, directed by Judy Chaikin, 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.

The film will be shown in a few major cities throughout the U.S. beginning in January, after its debut at the Dubai International Film Festival Dec. 13-14. Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think. Are you familiar with many of the pioneering female instrumentalists of the jazz genre?


Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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