Sisters Of Jazz: The Hidden Ladies Of Jazz

Debut album from all-women Swedish-Danish band is a tribute to well-known female musicians from Mary Lou Williams to Sister Rosetta Tharpe


Scandinavian vocalist Anna Pauline was commissioned to form an all-female group for a concert on International Women’s Day in 2014. Its success led to the formation of Sisters Of Jazz, featuring a quintet of accomplished Swedish and Danish jazz professionals.

On this, their debut album, tribute is paid to the often overlooked or undervalued contributions to jazz history of female instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, lyricists and arrangers. Every tune has a female composer or lyricist. The Frémeaux label, with albums such as Respect and Jazz Ladies, has shown similar recent support for the same commendable feminist theme.

The warmly swinging opening track, composed in swing style by Mary Lou Williams, establishes the classy standard of the backing instrumentalists, all talented and interesting soloists. After this Anna sings on every track. Her voice is bright and rounded in tone, her delivery incisive, accurate and rhythmically mobile, her style expressive and versatile. Who Are You is performed in the wry, musing manner of Cleo Laine, with (here and elsewhere) wordless vocal integration with the horn’s backing frills reminiscent of Cleo’s recordings with John Dankworth.

How High The Moon is a lively nod to Ella Fitzgerald, with some more confident scatting. Lil Armstrong’s Oriental Swing provides jaunty vintage contrast, and a prowling Willow Weep For Me features fine exchanges between trombone and bass, and vocal and piano.

Arrangements throughout, attributed to Anna, are interesting, fresh and sometimes very challenging – e.g., duets with just bassist Ida Hvid on the bleakly ironic slow ballad, This Will Make You Laugh, and with trombonist Lis Wessberg in an impressively authentic sounding adaption of Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s moving recording of My Journey To The Sky.

A driving version of Peggy Lee’s It’s A Good Day happily rounds off a very enjoyable album of well-performed jazz, fresh and timeless, with roots watered and following healthy development. Highly recommended.

Walking And Swingin’; How High The Moon; Who Are You; In The Days Of Our Love; Oriental Swing; Willow Weep For Me; I’ll Never Smile Again; I Aften; My Journey To The Sky; Sov Du Lilla Videung; The Five Pennies; This Will Make You Laugh; It’s A Good Day (57.33)
Anna Pauline (v, arr); Pernille Bévort (ts); Lis Wessberg (tb); Catrine Ullerup Frølund (p); Ida Hvid (b); Benita Haastrup (d).
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