Along with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, Lillian “Lil” Hardin (1898-1971) was arguably the third most crucial figure in the creation of popular jazz, but today her important contributions are largely unknown today because of past and present hostility of male jazz critics.
Today’s “MeToo” generation should embrace Lil Armstrong for the pioneer that she was. No other genre of American music has been quite so inhospitable to women as jazz, which makes it perfect timing for the reprint edition of this important book. Publishers hope to soon see this book in development for a motion picture.
Born in Memphis, with strong roots in Mississippi, Lil was, by her early twenties the most sought-after jazz pianist in Chicago, playing first with Freddie Keppard’s watershed Creole Jazz Band and later with King Oliver’s world-famous Creole Jazz Band. She was already well established in Chicago as a pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader before she met and married Louis Armstrong (1898-1971) in 1924.
Beyond her musical contributions to Louis as a songwriter, arranger, and pianist, Lil launched, guided and promoted his solo career. Her tireless efforts and musical craftsmanship (she was the only one in Louis’s band who could read music) made possible his now legendary Hot Fives and Hot
Sevens recordings. Later, after Louis divorced her in 1938, she established her own successful solo career. In 1931, in Harlem, she spearheaded the first all-female jazz band. It is a distinction that makes her the perfect role model for today’s “Me Too” generation. Over the years, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and others recorded her songs.
Music writer and investigative journalist James L. Dickerson chronicles Lil’s many musical achievements, which are all the more remarkable when one considers the patriarchal resistance that women in all professions–jazz included–confronted in twentieth-century America.
- Publisher : Sartoris Literary Group (June 30, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 266 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1941644244
- ISBN-13 : 978-1941644249
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches