Our selection for March reflects the annual celebration of Women’s History Month.  The all-female sextet, Lioness makes their auspicious debut with their CD, Pride, and Joy for the Posi-Tone Records label. The members of this ensemble are young females who have already established themselves as talented players on demand for live performances and recordings sessions. All the ladies in the band contributed original compositions and the cover tunes were also written by women. As one would expect from a lioness, this collective of instrumentalists come out roaring as if to say I am women, I am strong! Indeed, they are. In the past the women in jazz despite their massive contributions have been ignored, faced with discrimination by their peers and history has overlooked them. Over the past 10 to 15 years, women have become a driving force in jazz, not only as vocalists as in previous decades but as bandleaders, composers, arrangers and players of the highest caliber on every instrument imaginable. Denver has contributed to the marvelous movement with the Grammy® nominated Tia Fuller, her sister Shamie Fuller-Royston, Annie Booth, Tenia Nelson, Anisha Rush and many other younger talents, in addition, the to the veterans, Laura Newman, Jill Frederickson, Ellyn Rucker just to name several of our stateswomen of the Front Range.

The members of Lioness are Alexa Tarantino-alto sax, Jenny Hill-tenor sax, Lauren Sevian-baritone sax, Amanda Monaco-guitar, Akiko Tsuruga-organ, and Allison Miller-drums.  The opener is a showcase for the 3 horns atop of the funky beat laid down by the drummer. From the beginning to the end the listener will be treated to a variety of captivating sounds, calypso-esque, bluesy, bop, swing, waltz and ballad. These contemporary ladies of jazz pay homage to some of their sheroes by covering the late Aretha Franklin’s Think, the trombonist and exquisite arranger Melba Liston’s You Don’t Say, Carla Bley’s tribute to the pioneering actress and director Ida Lupino and the renown guitarist Emily Remler’s Mocha Space.  In addition to their outstanding playing, most of the members of the New York-based Lioness collective are committed to educating their mission “to inspire and educate the community at large by sharing music created by women in jazz, both past, and present”. This should be a feeling of pride and joy for all jazz fans!

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