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Sophisticated Ladies: The Great Women of Jazz Rating:

This handsome volume contains the stories of fourteen fabulous women, blues and jazz singers all. Their art reflected their backgrounds -- often small, poverty-ridden towns in the South -- and the influence of musicians who preceded them. Each singer adapted the culture of jazz and wove it into her own personal style.

Jazz historian Leslie Gourse's biographies of Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Mildred Bailey, Mabel Mercer, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day, Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Rosemary Clooney, Cassandra Wilson, and Diana Krall offer a fascinating glimpse into American history and a continually evolving musical genre.

For more stories of girls and women in the arts, visit A Mighty Girl's Creative Arts section.


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"Gourse mentions the singers' childhoods and backgrounds and traces the influences on and course of their careers, not shying away from the poverty, health issues, addictions, and chaotic lifestyles experienced by many of them.... The spot-on discography points students to the best-known songs of each artist." -- School Library Journal

"This volume will be popular with middle-grade report writers, but it also belongs in the hands of young people interested in jazz, who may be prompted to move from these quick takes to full-length biographies." -- Booklist

Product Details

Recommended Age 11 and up
Author Leslie Gourse
Illustrator Martin French
ISBN 0525471987
Publication Date Jan 18, 2007
Publisher Dutton Juvenile
Language English