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Dorothy Donegan (April 6, 1922 — May 19, 1998) was born in Chicago, IL. She was a classically trained jazz pianist primarily known for performing in the stride piano and boogie-woogie style. She also played bop, swing jazz, and classical music. She had a flamboyant personality and tendency to mix unrelated genres in the same concert. Ms Donegan's willingness to do lounge music may have caused her to be undervalued in jazz circles. In this video you will see her talent for playing the very old and difficult Stride piano style, in which her left hand does all the work. She was amazing!

And so it was with the brilliant jazz saxophonist, John Coltrane

Alice Coltrane, (August 27 1937 - January 12 2007) wife of John Coltrane, began playing classical piano and organ at age 7. From 1962 to 1963 she played with Terry Gibbs's quartet, during which time she met John Coltrane. She replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with John Coltrane's group in 1965. She married Coltrane in 1966, and continued playing with the band until his death in 1967. John Coltrane became stepfather to Alice's daughter Michelle, and the couple had three children: drummer John Jr., and saxophonists Oran and Ravi. John Jr. died in a car crash in 1982. To visit her official webite, CLICK HERE

After John Coltrane (Sr.)'s death she continued to play with her own groups, moving into more and more meditative music, and later playing with her children. She was one of the few harpists in the history of jazz. The main music player features 3 recordings of Ms Coltrane playing on harp and piano.

picture of alice coltrane

In this video Mrs Coltrane speaks of how she and John Coltrane explored Hinduism along with India's music and instruments. Here, she plays unique Hindu jazz which she composed. The main music player also features Mrs Coltrane's Journey in Satchindananda, Hindu-inspired jazz which she composed and played on harp. She embraced and converted to Hinduism. She was devout to the religion until she died. CLICK HERE


AzizA Miller hails from Harlem, NY. She is a poet, composer, pianist, vocalist, arranger and music educator. Her music combines jazz, soul and poetry, thus, Jazzsoetry vol. 1 is the name of her latest CD. Not only a dynamic entertainer, she has a generous spirit. When this group was born, AzizA joined as one of our very first members, eager to support other artists.

You can visit AzizA at AzizA Miller's Smooth Jazz Space
ALSO at: AzizA at iseecolor
LISTEN NOW to Aziza's interview on MusicWoman Live! CLICK HERE


Aziza Mustafa Zadeh (born December 19, 1969) hails from Baku, Azerbaijan, born to musical parents Vagif and Eliza Mustafa Zadeh. Her father was a pianist and composer, famous for creating the mugam-jazz fusion which she now plays. Her mother is a classically trained singer. Ms Mustafa Zadeh masters both jazz and classical piano. She has sold over 15 million albums worldwide.

picture of aziza mustafa

Shirley Horn was born in Washington, DC where also she died on October 22, 2005 at 71. She collaborated with many jazz greats including Miles Davis (they influenced each other). She was most noted for her ability to flawlessly accompany herself on the piano while singing in her lush contralto voice. It was described by Quincy Jones as "like clothing, as she seduces you with her voice." One can certainly understand this by listening to her rendition of And I Love Him.

Carmen Mercedes McRae (April 8, 1920 – November 10, 1994) was an American jazz singer, composer, pianist, and actress. Ms McRae was 17 when she first met her idol, Billie Holiday. At age 19 she wrote Dream of Life, which Ms Holiday recorded. Considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th century, it was her behind-the-beat phrasing and her ironic interpretations of song lyrics that set her apart. Ms McRae drew inspiration from Billie Holiday but established her own distinctive voice. She went on to record over 60 albums during her career, making a rich musical legacy, performing and recording in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Margaret Marian McPartland (born March 21, 1918) is an English jazz pianist. A musical prodigy from the time she could sit at the piano, she studied classical music, mastered the violin as well, and worshipped jazz, taking Duke, Teddy Wilson and others to heart. She looked up to Mary Lou Williams, Lil Hardin and Hazel Scott as trailblazers she’d likely follow. Ms McPartland claims not to read music, despite her early training. On the other hand, she plays and transposes in all keys, and knows virtually every jazz standard ever written. At age 90 she still writes, records and performs music, and hosts her Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, a National Public Radio series that began on June 4, 1978. It is currently the longest-running cultural program in NPR and the longest-running jazz program ever produced on public radio anywhere.

Hadda Brooks (October 29, 1916 – November 21, 2002) was born in Los Angeles, California. Ms Brooks was a noted pianist, vocalist and composer who actually preferred ballads to boogie-woogie but was billed as "Queen of the Boogie." She usually played the small part of a lounge piano player in films, such as Out of the Blue, and often sang the title song. In 1950 she appeared in A Lonely Place starring Humphrey Bogart (see video). Ms Brooks became the first African-American woman to host her own television show in 1957. The Hadda Brooks Show, a combination talk and musical entertainment show, aired on Los Angeles' KCOP-TV. The show opened with Brooks seated behind a grand piano, cigarette smoke curling about her, and featured That's My Desire as her theme song. She appeared in 26 half-hour episodes of the show.

Tania Maria (born May 9, 1948) is a Brazilian artist, singer, composer, bandleader and piano player, singing mostly in Portuguese or English with her trio. Her music is mostly vocal and unmistakably Brazilian. Whether playing fiery samba, tranquil bossa, Afro-Latin, Pop and Jazz fusion, or any other genre, she maintains a style that is uniquely her own. Her vibrant voice, brilliant piano work and outstanding performances have made her an artist of increasing international popularity.

Diana Jean Krall, (born November 16, 1964) is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer. She is known for her graceful contralto vocals. She began learning the piano at the age of four. Her father Jim Krall's large record collection helped to expose the young Krall to jazz legends. In high school, she started playing in a small jazz group. Ms Krall is internationally popular.

Geri Allen (born June 12, 1957 in Pontiac, MI) is a post bop jazz pianist, producer, and music educator from Detroit, Michigan. She received her early jazz education at the famed Cass Technical High School in Detroit, then earned her bachelor's degree in jazz studies from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Ms Allen has worked with many of the greats of modern jazz. She is married to trumpeter Wallace Roney.

Patrice Louise Rushen (born September 30, 1954 in Los Angeles, California) is a Grammy Award winning jazz and R&B singer, songwriter, composer, and pianist. Ms Rushen demonstrated her musical potential at a young age; she was regarded as a child prodigy. In her teens, she won the prestigious 1972 Monterey Jazz Festival. She earned her degree in music from the University of Southern California. As a mature woman, she became a jazz master and top musical director. Patrice Rushen has made so many ground-breaking achievements you really should read about them. We focus on musicians here but this link about Ms Rushen has a bonus: information about female jazz vocalists run along the page's right margin: PATRICE RUSHEN'S ACHIEVEMENTS

Toshiko Akiyoshi (born December 12, 1929) is a Japanese-American jazz pianist, composer/arranger and bandleader. Among a very few successful female instrumentalists of her generation in jazz, she is also recognized as a major figure in jazz composition. Ms Akiyoshi has received 14 Grammy nominations, and was the first woman to win the Best Arranger and Composer awards in Down Beat magazine's Readers Poll. In 1984, she was the subject of a documentary film titled Jazz Is My Native Language.

Joanne Brackeen (born July 26, 1938) is a jazz pianist and music educator. She was influenced by Charlie Parker and bebop. She played with Joe Henderson and Stan Getz before leading her own trio and quartet. Brackeen established herself as a cutting edge pianist and composer through her appearances around the world. Her solo performances also cemented her reputation as one of the most innovative and dynamic of pianists. Ms Brackeen has 25 albums as a lead musician and is a professor at the Berklee College of Music.

Pamela Wise was born in Detroit, MI where she began composing music and playing the piano by ear at the age of five and began taking piano lessons when she was nine. While in high school, she formed her own R&B group called the Ohio Movement. Ms Wise formed her own ensemble, then received two Creative Artist Grant awards from the Arts Foundation of Michigan to write compositions demonstrating the link between Afro Cuban and jazz music. Her new CD, Negre Con Leche, Black with Cream, is available on You can visit Ms Wise at PAMELA WISE'S MYSPACE

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Tags: jazz

Views: 301

Replies to This Discussion

Hello Charlee,
I have to admit you know your music history, not only female jazz musicians, but some of the whole scope. Keep informing us sweetheart,we are never to old to learn.

Ooh, thanks for the compliment but actually, Kip, I am a relatively NEW jazz fan. I've only been seriously interested in it for a few years but now I eat, drink and sleep to this music. Growing up, my grandfather and father loved and played it all the time. I remember my grandfather telling us it's a big part of our history and that jazz comes from musicians, many who couldn't read or write music, but could compose, remember and play it brilliantly, by ear.

As a fresh fan, I tried to find more info about jazz played by women. E-ve-ry sin-gle time I asked groups of other jazz enthusiasts to name female musicians they were into, they'd, by and large, talk of vocalists! This forced me to become a 'jazz detective'. I delved and dug and began to find impeccable artists and a lot of history. Best of all, I've bought and listened to so much good music! I hope to help others know these women, add their music to their collections, and attend their live performances. They're serious musicians and deserve a broader fan base.

Not to take any glory or due credit away from any other jazz artists, I believe that until we appreciate female jazz players we're depriving ourselves of a lot of great music, not to mention history (herstory?). Hopefully, also, the futures of little girls who shall someday become jazz musicans will be much brighter.
I'm so glad I joined this group and I truly appreciate the work that you've put into this page. From one jazz lover to another......Thank You .......I just come on and let the music play
Thank you so much for the history lesson. I am truly grateful and recognize these greats' contribution to the jazz industry.
Thanks so much, Lou, for speaking directly to the purpose of our group. Believe it or not, I started this group after posing the question, "Who's your fav female jazz musician?" in another jazz group's discussion section. I got some good answers but after a few days of folks naming way more vocalists than musicians, I recognized the problem and felt the need for this type of forum. You're a huge lover of jazz, Lou. I'm so happy you are here.
Geri and I were Music students at Howard University. She had precocious Jazz Ears even then!

Great Collection Charlee...
Ron, coming from such as strong and gifted musician and music educator as yourself, I'm very grateful for both your compliment and having you with us. You and Ms Allen are proof positive that Howard attracts great minds!
This is a good list. One of my favorites is Marian McPartland. Are you familiar with her music?
Thanks for the experience.
Carmen Mcrea and Diana Krall, yeah!
Hi Charlee, This is very informing! I didn't know this about Patrice Rushen! Although most of us are familiar with her Music, it was great learning something new. Really, I learned something about all of the Featured Artists'. Thanks for Sharing such Valuable History! ~Tony Steward.



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