Female Jazz Drummers

In 1942, drummer Viola Smith sent shock waves through the jazz world by claiming in Down Beat magazine that “hep girls” could sit in on any jam session and hold their own. In Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country, Angela Smith takes Viola at her word, offering a comprehensive look at the world of professional drumming and the women who had the courage and chops to break the barriers of this all-too-male field.

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images of female drummers

How many famous female drummers can you name?
Who are the best female drummers?
Female jazz drummers – do you know any?
Share your thoughts in the comments below. Not limited to jazz of course.

I recently came across a cool book about woman drummers written by Angela Smith. Read On.

Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country

Female Jazz Drummers Women Drummers: A History from Rock, Jazz, Blues and CountryIn 1942, drummer Viola Smith sent shock waves through the jazz world by claiming in Down Beat magazine that “hep girls” could sit in on any jam session and hold their own. In Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country, Angela Smith takes Viola at her word, offering an in-depth look at the world of professional drumming and the women who had the chops and the courage to break the barriers of this male dominated field.

Combining archival research with personal interviews of more than 50 female drummers representing more than 8 decades in music history, Smith paints a vivid picture of their struggles to overcome discrimination—not only as professional musicians but in other parts of their lives.

The stories and personal accounts of female drummers who bucked tradition and societal norms are told against the backdrop of the times in which they performed and the genres they represented, from rock and jazz to blues and country.

Check out the book here.

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So who are the best female drummers of all time?

Share your thoughts in the comments. And if you like this post, please like it on Twitter, Facebook, G+ or other social networks.

 

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6 thoughts on “Female Jazz Drummers”

  1. I know myself, and I’m a female drummer. In my last band, I did vocals & guitar, and the drummer was also female. Two of my best friends are also female drummers. We’re not a rare and exotic species … just WAY under-recognized and under-appreciated! You wouldn’t believe the number of times in my career that I’ve auditioned for a band and was told by the male members that they simply wouldn’t consider a “girl,” and especially not for drums (I guess we’re OK for tambourines and backing vocals). Among well-known pro drummers, though, Shiela E remains one of my all-time favorites; she’s a versatile virtuoso!

  2. Best Jazz Drummer would be Viola Smith.

    Meg white is my favorite girl rock drummer because she’s simply raw and primal.

    Favorite Pop Female drummer would have to be Sheila E.

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