March 15, 2013 11:00 AM
“Women really did a lot of things that sound like delusions if you get your information from sources that don’t take gender into account in the field of power,” said Sherrie Tucker, an expert on jazzwomen, who gave the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South’s second annual Sylvia R. Frey Lecture on Wednesday (March 13) in the Qatar Ballroom of the Lavin-Bernick Center on the Tulane University uptown campus.
For example, she said when New Orleans jazzwoman Neliska “Baby” Briscoe was living in a retirement home, her attendant considered her stories of “wearing a tuxedo and waving a baton, touring the country leading a jazz band” to be mere delusions, not the realities of her ward’s former life.Tucker, a professor of American studies at Kansas University, focused on uncovering the lost stories of women involved in the New Orleans jazz scene around the turn of the 20th century.
Many of these women were famous during their own time but have since fallen into obscurity.The lecture’s goal, and the goal of Tucker’s current scholarship, is to study the role New Orleans women played in the male-dominated field of early 1900s jazz, and to restore them to their proper place in history’s understanding of the jazz tradition narrative.
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