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The Lost Women of British Jazz

Janine H Jones uncovers the stories of the earliest female jazz pioneers, who were erased from music history. From 2014.

Janine H Jones uncovers the secret history of women's jazz - and the tragic story of how a burgeoning musical equality was deliberately snuffed out.

Ivy Benson, Gracie Cole and Kathy Stobart became household names in jazz and dancehall, only after battling throughout the 1940s and 50s to gain recognition and respect in a male-dominated industry; a struggle repeated by other women over many decades.

This programme transports us back to Britain after the First World War was over, when women experienced their first taste of emancipation. The UK was becoming a hotbed of music. Bars, clubs and bottle parties hosted bands every night and ladies were jazzing right alongside the men.

In their own words, lady musicians of the Jazz Age tell their stories. Rare archive recordings fill in the skipped beats of their history and Janine reveals how first their careers, and their rightful place in history, was quashed.

Researcher Jen Wilson, historian Val Wilmer and drummer Sheelagh Pearson break fresh ground in this under-researched area and expose the hidden truth about the role of the pioneering women in early jazz.

Producers: Hannah Loy & Janine H Jones

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September 2014.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Fri 13 Nov 2020 02:30

Music Played

  • Johnny Green

    I Cover the Waterfront

    Orchestra: Gracie Cole and Her Orchestra.
  • Richard Carpenter

    Seven Eleven

    Orchestra: Gracie Cole and Her Orchestra.
  • Hoagy Carmichael


    Orchestra: Ivy Benson and Her All Girls Band.
    • HQCD-149.
  • Jen Wilson

    This Bread I Break

    Orchestra: Jen Wilson Ensemble.
    • 'Twelve Poems' The Dylan Thomas Jazz Suite.
    • Haulwen Records.
    • B004A91TI4.
  • Bert Lee

    Shall I Have it Bobbed or Shingled?

    Performer: UNKNOWN. Composer: Robert Patrick Weston.
  • Nick LaRocca

    Fidgety Feet

    Orchestra: Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Composer: Larry Shields.
    • RCA : 66608.
    • RCA.
    • 66608.
  • Jack Yellen

    Lovin' Sam

    Orchestra: Gordon Stretton's Orchestre Syncopated Six. Composer: Milton Ager.
    • Bear Family Records : BCD16095.
    • Bear Family Records.
    • BCD16095.
  • Raymond Hubbell

    Poor Butterfly

    Performer: Valaida Snow. Composer: John Golden.
    • Valaida Snow Complete Jazz Series, 1933-1936.
    • Complete Jazz Series.
    • B002E79N82.
  • Harry B. Smith

    The Sheik of Araby

    Performer: Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band, The. Composer: Francis Wheeler.
  • Harry Woods

    Side By Side

    Performer: Unknown.
  • John Turner Layton & Henry Creamer

    Way Down Yonder in New Orleans

    Performer: Gordon Stretton's Orchestre Syncopated Six.
    • Bear Family Records : BCD16095.
    • Bear Family Records.
    • BCD16095.
  • Gwen Rogers Musical Dolls

    I'd Love You to Love Me

  • Gwen Rogers Musical Dolls

    My Little House

  • Nacio Herb Brown

    You Are My Lucky Star

    Performer: Unknown.
  • Eric Coates

    By the Sleepy Lagoon

    • EMI.
    • 7243-5 66676 2 4.
  • Humphrey Lyttelton

    Kath Meets Humph

    Performer: Humphrey Lyttelton. Performer: Kathy Stobart.
    • Kath Meets Humph.
    • Parlophone.
    • PMD1052.
  • George Bassman

    I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

    Performer: Ivy Benson and Her All Girls Band. Composer: Ned Washington.
    • HMV : BD1071.
    • HMV.
    • BD1071.


  • Tue 16 Sep 2014 11:30
  • Sat 20 Sep 2014 15:30
  • Thu 12 Nov 2020 14:30
  • Fri 13 Nov 2020 02:30