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What kind of influence has woman had on Jazz?

Woman and Jazz is not something familiar to the public, especially in the 20th century time frame.
When people think of Jazz they turn to Louis Armstrong, Jonah Jones or Benny Goodman. Woman and
Jazz are not common together because of the severe sexism they suffered when Jazz was first becoming
known but woman have helped change the face of Jazz and has always influenced woman's rights
movement.
During the late 19th century to the early 20th woman were best known in the music industry for playing
the piano before they progressed into dancers, singers and rarely trumpet players. While blues music
and Jazz was prominently male, in many early recordings it is proven that female singers and
instrumentalists were present. Many women in this time frame were contained to working as servants
for white households, cooking, cleaning or caring for young children and taking over the household jobs
of a white women. Jazz music opened up new lifestyles to African-American artists. Rather than being
contained to a household or unfair and unequal occupations, music gave them the opportunity to dress,
act and compose in any way they enjoy and love without facing a brutal amount of judgement and
discrimination from other races.
During the early stages of women playing in Jazz, whether it be in bands or as a solo they were often
discriminated against for their gender. Examples would be, unable to enter clubs or venues to play as it
was a female-free zone, unacceptable to the social expectations and it was often frowned upon because
female musicians were considered 'dumb' by 'higher authorities' because they were not receiving the
'proper education that a woman needs in a household'. This lead to female Jazz performers to become
more persistent in their careers to prove these rumours wrong. This was proven to be a problem
between musicians and laws as women stretched the dress code and the 'social standards' that African-
American woman were forced to comply by. Women influenced Jazz by giving it individuality to its
artists and listeners.
Woman also began creating different dance forms for Jazz, which unavoidably led to more fans of the
freedom genre. As Jazz began to spread, more artists made themselves known by having their own
style, leading to different dancers in different areas to create similar dance techniques with their own
personal touches. Jazz helped expand the choreography and dance industry. Dancing styles/movements
and techniques that include Jazz are: Jazz square, the Rib cage, Leg Hold, Street Jazz, Theatre Jazz,
Straddle Jump and Hip Isolation. These are just a few examples of Jazz based techniques that dancers
and choreographers use to warm up and create dances for themselves and the public.
Jazz and Women were a large influence on each other as Jazz became a turning point to women as it
showed their true colours and what was truly capable of the female population. Jazz helped female
artists come out of their shells as inspiring and capable role models to the younger generation. Women
influenced Jazz by giving it a new voice and giving other female artists a push to come out and fight
against sexism. Women also helped change Jazz with costumes and other genres of dance, giving it an
identity through their movements and clothing.
The kind of influence women had on Jazz was not recognised as major in the 20th century but today as
inspired musicians look for a role model, they are able to turn to artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Diana
Krall for inspiration and motivation in not only Jazz but other genres.