'Girls in the Band' tells stories of female jazz instrumentalists


Starting in the 1930s, the documentary tells the stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists. In those early days, they made music, but they also battled sexism and racism.

"As a little girl, it didn't occur to me that I couldn't do anything because my dad, without knowing it, was a feminist," said Roz Cron, who is now 88.

Cron became a member of a mostly African-American female band.

"I was very fortunate to be with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, which was an extraordinary big band," said Cron.

But in those days, playing in the South was tough. Director-producer Judy Chaikin spent five years working on this documentary. She knows it was well worth it.

"These are some of the most wonderful, vibrant, interesting women I've ever met in my life," said Chaikan. "They feel like their lives have been validated by it so, wow, what more can you ask in life than to validate a truth?"

Chaikin says young girls come up to her with tears in their eyes and thanking her for telling the story. Yesterday's courage is tomorrow's inspiration.

"My great-grandchild will know what I did, and my kids are already very proud of me," said Cron.

"The Girls in the Band" is playing at the Laemmle Theater in North Hollywood.

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