MARYSVILLE – The all-time greatest jazz musicians include: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Bennie Goodman, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and many more.
But while there are many legendary jazz female singers, there aren’t many well-known jazz musicians who are women.
Taryn Zickefoose, the music instructor at Marysville Middle School, would like the change that.
For the past six weeks, she has worked with 35 girls from 15 high schools and middle schools in the area to form an All-Girl Jazz Band.
They will open for a group of music educators who call themselves “The Jazz Conspiracy Big Band” Wednesday at the Anchor Pub in Everett, 1001 Hewitt Ave. They start at 6:15 p.m. They will perform five songs, including swing, Latin and ballad charts.
Judi Zickefoose said in an email that, “Women are statistically not represented equally in the jazz world. This is prevalent in the world of professional musicians,” as stated at an all-day Women In Jazz conference at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. She said by eighth grade there is a serious drop-off of interest by girls when it comes to band. There are various reasons why, but one thought is: “Band is not for girls. I feel like I don’t fit in.”
Taryn hopes to change that mind-set. And the young girls seem all for it. Once the word got out that there was going to be an all-girl jazz band, Zickefoose was overwhelmed with requests.
Dasia Laughlin, a freshman at Marysville Getchell High School, was one of them. “I want to join that,” she remembered saying.
Dasia has three years of experience playing jazz as a percussionist at 10th Street Middle School. She started in band playing the clarinet but switched to drums in the seventh grade.
Dasia said she is “serious” about music and would like to go on to play in college. She’s even taking private lessons from Zickefoose.
She said she wasn’t sure how it would feel playing in an all-girl band. “It feels more comfortable. I don’t know why,” she said.
Dasia said girls can be fickle, but they aren’t that way at all in the jazz band. They are supportive and encourage each other. “We all know music is a passion” for all of us, she said.
Zickefoose, who is in her second year at MMS, also has found that to be true.
“It’s a different learning environment with all girls,” she said. “They take risks.”
Something else she has noticed is a lot of mentoring, with the older kids helping the younger ones.
The band rehearses Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. in the Marysville-Pilchuck High School band room.