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Jazz is love — in my book. It’s hard to go a day without indulging myself in the intense sounds of Miles Davis and sultry lyrics of Billie Holiday . So this month I’m excited to have an excuse to celebrate one of my greatest inspirations.

Jazz Appreciation Month , created to be observed every April, is a celebration that encourages people to attend jazz concerts, listen to jazz recordings, support jazz programs, and simply enjoy the music’s verve, pulse, and power.

In 1942, Viola Smith, a veteran drummer with 17 years of professional paradiddles under her belt, sent shock waves through the readership of Down Beat by extolling the existence of "hep girls," female jazz musicians "who could sit in any jam session and hold their own." A firestorm of letters-to-the-editor ensued, passionately debating the topic: Can women play jazz ?

Ladies: Pour yourselves a glass of wine or brew a cup of tea, sit back, relax (you deserve it!) and celebrate Women in Jazz.

Don’t know where to start? How about HERE!

Info: PBS.org & Images: smithsonianjazz.org

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