Jazzwomen Directory

To date, 96 women are listed in our Jazzwomen Directory


Feel free to click on the links, watch the videos of our Amazing Musicwomen Presentation, and please share with others.

Join our global organization that promotes women musicians:


Listen to the archives of over 275 podcasts with women composers:


Listen and purchase our 6 CDs of women composers:




Of course Jazzmen are dynamic.  So are Amazing Musicwomen!

jazzmen womeninjazz

Freddie Hubbard is an icon!  He recorded my tune SWEET RETURN (1983) and put it in his Song Book making me historical (herstorical). I sat at the feet of Miles, Diz, Buhaina, Shepp, Yusef, Rahsaan, McCoy, and Ron Carter, learning all I could about the art of improvisation. I sat with Helen Morgan 3 years before she shot Lee. I AM JAZZ!


Joan Cartwright, Freddie Hubbard, Jerry (owner of Allotria in Munich, Germany) Jeff Chambers, lady, Ronnie Matthews circa 1993

Image       Image

I’ve been in conversations with Ella, Betty Carter, Irene Reid, Ruth Brown, Abbey Lincoln, and Dorothy Donegan. I was THERE at the Blue Note, Slugs in the Far East (Village) with Lee Morgan, Buhaina, Miles, Frank Foster, Charles McPherson, Bill Hardman and Joe Lee Wilson, Village Gate, at the Galleon (Bronx), and the Village Vanguard with Lou Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith who recorded my first demo tape with me that got me gigs all over the European continent. Ellington’s bass player Aaron Bell first listened to my tune “Loneliblue” and said the musicians would love playing it.


Joe Lee Wilson and Joan Cartwright, Brighton, England


With Lou Donaldson at Jazz Inn, London, UK



Joan Cartwright and Dorothy Donegan, Marian’s Jazz Room, Bern, Switzerland (1996)


Abbey Lincoln and Joan Cartwright, Montreux Jazz Festival (1993)


Joan Cartwright and Betty Carter, IAJE Conference, El Paso, TX, 1993

In Philly, Gerald Price taught me composition and piano, and in New York, Barry Harris was my teacher on piano and vocals. Budd Johnson was my babysitter from 4-8 years old. Milt Hinton (The Judge) was my cousin’s Godfather and he got me my first gig in Berne, Switzerland, at Marion’s Jazz Room, in 1990. I sat on Jay McShann’s lap and asked him to marry me. I proposed marriage to Quincy Jones just before I interview him for my Master’s Thesis, The Cultural Politics of Commercial Jazz, in 1993, which explained why I had to go to Europe (1990-1998) to make a living. In July 2013, I gave my book A History of African American Jazz and Blues to Quincy with the interview I did of him in 1993, 20 years earlier, in the exact same building – Stravinsky Hall, in Montreux, Switzerland [photo].

I AM Jazz!


With Quincy Jones, Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland, at Claude Nobs’ Chalet, 1993

I am the Chronicler of this music. While everyone else was PLAYING, I was documenting it. I met Quincy Troupe, co-writer of Miles’ biography. I penned lyrics to A NIGHT IN TUNISIA, TUNE UP, BLUE BOSSA, and BESSIE’S BLUES and sang them all over Europe, the East Coast of the USA, and in China and Japan. I Am the female Jazz Messenger, who sang on Jazzmobile with Buhaina, Frank Foster, Frank Wes, George Coleman, and Charles McPherson. The first person to take me on the road was Philly Joe Jones, who took me to Baltimore to perform with Shirley Scott, Arthur Harper (bass), and Sonny Stitt, in 1978. I AM the only woman in the world with a Jazz and Blues Song Book that I submitted to the Guinness Book of Records.

JoanCartwrightSongBook               jc-historybook

Google me – www.joancartwright.com. But, more importantly, I am the foremost authority on Women in Jazz and Blues and I will not be quieted about the role of women as the Mothers of the Blues and the innovators of Jazz.  That’s why, in 2007, I founded www.wijsf.org to promote women musicians, globally! That’s why, since 2008, I’ve interviewed over 200 women composers at www.blogtalkradio.com/musicwoman

amazing_musicwomen_softcover   amazing_musicwomen_hardcover

That’s why I created the Jazzwomen Directory  that features 90 women musicians that most musicians, let alone people, do not know about and I put 40 of them in my book Amazing Musicwomen that I taught over 10,000 students (3-12 grade and college) in the U.S., Switzerland, Sicily, China, and Japan about.


Hear me SCAT!

Joan Cartwright and Dizzy Gillespie, Sunfest, West Palm Beach, FL 1985

Joan Cartwright and Dizzy Gillespie, Sunfest, West Palm Beach, FL 1985

READ my books:

In Pursuit of a Melody by Joan Cartwright  In Pursuit of a Melody




Blues Women: First Civil Rights Workers


The African voice inspired instrumentalists.  Vocalese was a dialogue between vocalists and instruments.  Each person had an individual sound and instrumentalists imitated the voice’s cries, growls, moans, slurs, whispers, shouts and wails.  Blues was the element of American subculture created by enslaved Africans, singing European music.  Considered crude by classical listeners, Blues liberated singers from precise pitch and calculated rhythms of European music.  Black singers emerged from Spirituals and Blues to develop Jazz.  Their free-spirited songs delivered messages of liberation, signaling to Africans in America that they could be free.  Blues women were the first civil rights workers because their songs symbolized liberty in its rawest form by tapping into the human spirit.  Angela Davis recounted Marx and Engles’ observation that art as “a form of social consciousness [awakens] . . . those affected by it to . . . transform their oppressive environments” (Davis, 1999).  Blues were popularized by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (Columbus, GA, September, 1882 – December 22, 1939), The Mother of the Blues (Cartwright, 2008, p. 9).  A spokesperson for black people, she was a hero to them.  She recorded hundreds of songs on Paramount, putting that recording company on the map.  The most popular Blues singers established a rapport and rhetoric with the crowd.  Ma Rainey took Bessie Smith under her wing and Blues tradition developed as one followed another.

This book Amazing Musicwomen has lots of information about Billie HolidayElla FitzgeraldDinah WashingtonMarian McPartland, Peggy Lee, Toshiko AkiyoshiAlberta Hunter, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, and other Musicwomen. Musicwoman Radio and Musicwoman Magazine tell the stories of Amazing Musicwomenwho paved the way for vocalists, song stylists, singers, composers, and instrumentalists. Their songs are from The American Song Book that includes original songs like Alberta Hunter’s “Downhearted Blues”, “Handy Man”, and “Rough & Ready Man” plus songs of Broadway composers of the early 1900s, Duke Ellington, Billie Strayhorn, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Fats Waller, and Broadway composers Michel LeGrande, Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach and Isaac Hayes. [NOTE, after Alberta Hunter, the absence of women composers. Who were they? Does anybody know?] OK, Barbra Streisand, Carol King, Carly Simon, Roberta Flack, and who else? www.lulu.com/spotlight/divajc

Buy the book

Buy the download


Cartwright, J. (2008).  Amazing Musicwomen.  FYI Communications, Inc.

Davis, A.Y. (1999).  Blues legacies and black feminism. New York: Random House.

©2014 Joan Cartwright, M.A.

U.S. Embassy donates Joan’s books to schools

During my stay in Kingston, Jamaica, where I performed for the U.S. Embassy’s Blues on the Green Concert on February 26, 2010, I visited two primary schools: Linstead and Windwood Road, where I shared my books with several students ages 10-14. They sang songs from my book SONGS FOR MY CHILDREN, specifically, "Butterfly" and "Funky Monkey". I shared the stories of AMAZING MUSICWOMEN and the advice and guidance from my book SO, YOU WANT TO BE A SINGER? A manual for up-and-coming Divas, composers and musicians.

Amazing Musicwomen Singer Songs For My Children

The U.S. Embassy purchased 16 of each book for a total of 48 books to donate to the two schools (8 each). This is such an honor for me and the music teacher at Windward Road Primary told me that she really appreciated my talking with the students about the business of music. She said she emphasized the business side of music and my talk was confirmation of what she’s been instilling in the students.

JC in Kingston, Jamaica

The concert was a blast. I performed with the Maurice Gordon Quartet and the Blues was just wonderful as the audience sang along with me to their delight and to mine, "Oh, Baby!" See photos at: http://www.joancartwright.com

I enjoyed the four days I spent on this island in the sun. The people were very friendly and the embassy staff took care of me, calling me "Diva" at every turn!

I was a guest on three radio shows with Diane Thomas (KOOL.FM), Michael Anthony Cuff (Power 106 FM) and Allan Magnus and Paula Ann Porter (RJR). Then, I was on TV with hosts Neville Bell and Simon Crosskill on the morning television show "Smile, Jamaica" and "CVM at Sunrise" with Miss Jamaica, who had attended one of our concerts in Lauderhill, Florida, in 2009. What a coincidence!

Miss Jamaica

Many thanks to Angella Harvey and Fern Whyte of the U.S. Embassy for this extraordinary experience!


See all of my books:http://fyicomminc.com/books.html


The key to the internet is networking. Visit and join our networks.

Music Education and the National Urban League

Dear Don Bowen,  

First, let me say we have lots to be grateful and appreciative for and I acknowledge that! It is so good to know that you have risen to the Directorship of the National Urban League. Surely, the hard work you did for our office here in Fort Lauderdale had a lot to do with this commendable promotion on your behalf.  

I contacted you by phone at the suggestion of Karriem Edwards. I thank you for taking my call and for your response to the email I sent with information on my books and workshops on Women in Jazz and Blues.  

I see an opportunity to bring to the national arena something of great value and would appreciate the opportunity to dialogue with Dr. Hal Smith, VP of Education and Youth Development, if you would be so kind as to arrange that connection.  

Actually, I visited the Urban League office in Las Vegas a couple of months ago and three women there were very interested in my books and workshops. However I haven’t heard any more from them. Here, in Fort Lauderdale, I have not been in touch with anyone from the Urban League, but would be happy to sit down with anyone you could introduce me to.
I realize that we’re in a very tight economic environment and people are more concerned with everyday needs than with the Arts. But it is the Arts that enable people to, first, forget about the hard times and, second, develop their own creativity to overcome obstacles they face, personally and in business.  

Once we understand that taking Music and Art out of school and paying parents to feed their children Ritalin to counteract Attention Deficiency Disorder, which is a direct result of NOT learning how to access their creativity, we will honor artists by engaging them to develop and implement programs and workshops like the ones I’ve presented to you. Available at this link – www.fyicomminc.com/workshops.htm  

The Urban League’s Statement is as follows:  

Our Strategy – The National Urban League employs a five-point approach to provide economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for African Americans.

As the founder of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. and a 38-year veteran of the Performing Arts, I am fully aware of the benefits musicians reap from musical studies, most importantly, discipline, dedication and ability to make a living from something they love to do, not to mention the opportunity to travel to foreign shores as Ambassors of Peace, where they are appreciated by people of varying cultures and backgrounds.

Education and Youth Empowerment ensures the education of all children by providing access to early childhood literacy, after-care programs and college scholarships.

My personal experience within the education system includes sharing the stories of Women in Jazz and Blues with thousands of children in Florida, New York, Georgia, China, Japan and Europe. In 1997, 1998 and 2000, I was the recipient of nearly $15,000 in Student Enrichment in the Arts grants (SEAS), through Broward County Schools.

Right now, I’m working on our organization’s directory listing and a grant proposal for the Broward Cultural Arts Council to take our programs into the schools and after-care programs in 2010.

In the past 12 years, I’ve presented at several colleges, including FAU, FIU, MDCC, BCC, NOVA SE and York College, where I’ve been scheduled to return on March 4, 2010. This one-hour presentation is fully-documented in photographs and videos on my websites: www.wijsf.org, www.joancartwright.com and www.fyicomminc.com.

Each time we bring the story of Women in Jazz and Blues to students, we receive positive feedback from them, their teachers, principals and parents. This is why we work to continue bringing this program to schools and events to the community. See our concert series at www.floridajazznetwork.com

Economic Empowerment invests in the financial literacy and employability of adults through job training, homeownership and entrepreneurship.

Every professional musician and artist is an entrepreneur that can enhance the learning process of adults and children they come in contact with. Musicians must learn how to be financially stable, especially in economic times like these. What music and art teach the artist is that they have a gift that they are responsible for sharing with others and that compensation is certainly forthcoming.

Personally, I’ve retired from the music business three times (1996, 1999, 2001) and I’ve returned, purely on the basis that music is my God-given talent that I MUST share with the world. It is the “talent” that I must use for the good of all. I must not bury it, take it for granted or squander it. See The Parable of the Ten Talents

I believe I understand that, now, and I am determined to help others recognize the value of African American music, art and culture. My book, A History of African-Amerian Jazz and Blues expands on why so many African-Americans have not reaped financial benefits of their artistic production. It’s tied up with cultural politics and I believe this book qualifies as required reading for every African-American man, woman and child. The book contains interviews with jazz greats Quincy Jones, Dewey Redman (father of Joshua), Lester Bowie (Chicago Art Ensemble) and Sandy Patton (Vocal Instructor, Swiss Jazz School). If we neglect to understand the value and importance of our cultural production, the dominant society will continue to be the only benefactor of it’s fruits, i.e., record companies, publishers, promoters and distributors.

Blues and Jazz are “the only original American art forms” and have been designated by Congress as a National Treasure! See the attached letter from First Lady Michelle Obama, indicating that we have been in touch with her regarding our organization.

Health and Quality of Life Empowerment promotes community wellness through a focus on prevention, including fitness, healthy eating and access to affordable healthcare.

This President’s highest priority has been health care reform. My contention is that happiness is the greatest cure for ill health. Music and Art are at the top of the list of conditions that cause happiness. I could write a treatise on this. This video sent to me earlier in the week speaks volumes about the healing properties of music. 

Patrick plays! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xwCG0Ey2Mg

Civic Engagement and Leadership Empowerment encourages all people to take an active role to improve quality of life through participation in community service projects and public policy initiatives.

There can be no doubt that musical events unite a community, if only for one hour. You live in New York City. Have you been to the Jazzmobiles, during the summer, attended by thousands of New Yorkers? I was 19, when I attended some of the first concerts in 1968-70. At Grant’s Tomb, circa 1984, I performed with some of the greatest living jazz artists, including Frank Foster, Frank Wes and George Coleman. This experience led me to where I am as a jazz artist, today. Since then, hundreds of young musicians have been influenced by these concerts and by the education program developed by this organization. www.jazzmobile.org – It is our mission to continue this legacy with WOMEN IN JAZZ SOUTH FLORIDA, INC. – www.wijsf.org

Civil Rights and Racial Justice Empowerment guarantees equal participation in all facets of American society through proactive public policies and community-based programs.

The impact that Blues and Jazz artists have had on the global society is undeniable. This truth fills many books about musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and so many more who traveled to foreign lands as representatives of the American people and, African-American people in particular, bringing unmeasureable joy, despite obstacles they faced as people of color in the United States, under Jim Crow Laws declaring them less than whole persons. They were applauded on other continents and abused at home. But that didn’t stop them from being the messengers of peace, hope, love and community that they were born to be. Their stories must continue to be told to urban children, children in the suburbs and on farms, where many of them came from. Our organization serves that purpose and we trust that the National Urban League recognizes the value and importance of that work.

I ask that you calendar our Women in Jazz Presentations on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at York College and Friday, March 5, at the Langston Hughes Library in Queens. I’ll continue to send you notices with additional performances in the NY area and exact times, if that is not an imposition. Perhaps, you would be willing to share these dates with others you know who value the music and musicians we present.

In the meantime, please connect me with Dr. Hal Smith so that we can explore the possibilities of a partnership.

All the best,

Love and music,

Joan Cartwright

Founder & Executive Director

Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc.

2801 S. Oakland Forest Drive

Suite 103

Oakland Park, FL 33309




Diva JC

From: Donald Bowen <dbowen@nul.org>
To: Joan Cartwright <divajc47@yahoo.com>
Sent: Tue, November 24, 2009 11:06:21 AM
Subject: RE: Joan Cartwright’s Books and Workshops

Joan – I looked at the links below and want to commend you for your continued growth and for your efforts to expose young people to music and the arts.  You may or may not know that the National Urban League is an intermediary organization with 100 affiliates throughout the country.   Our affiliates are our direct-service delivery mechanism and each affiiates operates as its own separate and independent not for profit organization.  Approximately 5-10% of affiliates programming is directed and funded at the national level while most of it is conceived and funded locally.  As such, we do not have any national programs which involve music or the arts directly.   Nevertheless, I have asked  Dr. Hal Smith, our VP of Education and Youth Development to review your materials to determine if there are any opportunities to collaborate with you and for us to utilize the services which you provide.   We do conduct a national youth conference each year, and perhaps this venue might provide an opportunity to work with you.   Another strategy which you might want to pursue is to work directly with one of more of our local affiliates.  While we could recommend you to them, I would not suggest this approach as frankly they get too much from us already and it probably would “get lost” in the traffic.  Have you had any conversations with any of the local – South Florida affiliates?  If not, that might be a good place to start and I could facilitate the introduction, if needed.  Honestly, the chances of connecting the dots with a local affiliate are greater and this is probably an easier path to take than looking for a national type program or engagement.  I will let you know what Hal Smith suggests.  Let me know if you have tried to work with some of our local affiliates or if this is something you wish to pursue.  Happy Thanksgiving – it was good hearing from you.  Don

From: Joan Cartwright [mailto:divajc47@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 6:21 PM
To: Donald Bowen
Subject: Joan Cartwright’s Books and Workshops


Thanks for taking my call this evening.

It was great to hear your voice and I trust your work there is very fulfilling.

Here’s the link to my books and workshops.



My goal is to teach and bring awareness about the lives, contributions and joy brought to the global society by musicians who have made a difference no matter what circumstances they had to overcome. – Diva JC  

I would appreciated being on your list of artists who bring education to programs for urban children.

Let me know if you need anything else to make this happen.

I’ll be in NYC on March 4 at York College.

Will send more info as needed.

All the best in your endeavors at the National Urban League!

Joan Cartwright