Those Girls play like Men
'Those Girls play like Men' is the title of this series of three posters. On each poster there is a picture of a female ghostwriter in the jazz world (composer of big- and swing bands in the 20s till 60s) hidden underneath the pictures of the men they (ghost)wrote for: Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Randy Weston, Quincy Jones and Louis Armstrong.
The work is based upon the art practice of the Guerrilla Girls and inspired by the article ‘Telling Performances: Jazz History Remembered and Remade by the Woman in the Band’, written by Sherrie Tucker. After reading this article I started to research the female composers of the early stages of jazz. Particularly the ones that wrote for their male contemporaries. These women are no household names among the jazz audience. And even in the contemporary jazz scene the names: Melba Liston, Lilian Hardin Armstrong, and Mary Lou Williams, hardly ring a bell.
"THOSE GIRLS PLAY LIKE MEN"
Female, jazz musicians often worked as 'ghostwriters', meaning that they were paid under the table to complete arrangements for male composers, to who the work would be attributed. This was not an uncommon practice. Considering the gender dynamic of the industry and the lack of acknowledgment of ghostwriting placed these female composers further into obscurity. Judy Chaikin, a famous documentary maker, even states that 90 percent of the jazz musicians working today know absolutely nothing about any of these historic women. Mary Lou Williams / Lilian Hardin Armstrong / Melba Liston was one of them.
#reframe #reclaim #rewrite