Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen

Researching many of the women’s contributions to jazz is like what I imagine collecting butterflies to be – you go out with your net to many a remote, even secretive spot to track your shy and elusive quarry. Colorful, bright specimens, many of these women in jazz, far from the mainstream, and some of them downright eccentric. There are lots of them making music in small cities, pokey college towns, black neighborhoods, cheesy cocktail lounges – where record producers and jazz reviewers hardly venture. Ladies who have turned their backs on the business side of music, and who have validated themselves through their music. When I was putting together Stormy Weather over a period of several years, I was inspired by the personalities of the jazzwomen – the famous and the obscure, the white and the black, the old and the young. Their grit and determination and pride in their work often helped me keep going when I felt up to my ears in old newspaper dust. The struggles of these women in and out of music, their salty and witty views on life, work, men and the pursuit of happiness, lie at the heart of this book. I wanted not only to fill in the blanks of jazz history by citing their achievements, but also to capture some of the vividness of their lives. Because these are real foremothers, taboo-breakers, independent “mamas.”

from “Preface” to Stormy Weather, 1982.

"This book delves into the history of the involvement of women in jazz. It covers how women participated in the music as well as in-depth interviews, and also includes a discography of recordings by female artists. "Dahl boldy goes where no man (or woman) has gone before. For people who love jazz...who get bleak when they think of what happened to Billie Holiday, this is their book."
Los Angeles Times Book Review

The jazz scene in New Orleans, the Age of Swing, the Big Band Era of the 1940s and the ever present dark, smoky blues clubs have been the domain of men-but not entirely. Stormy Weather is a tribute to the women who made the scene, profiling the jazz and blues women from the turn of the century until now. Finishing off this work are interviews with ten women who have been part of the jazz industry and an extensive discography. Highly descriptive and enlightening, this engrossing reading brings alive a subculture that is as much a part of jazz as the music itself. Within these pages is the history and lives of women who often walked in its shadows.
From 'The WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women'; review by Ilene Rosoff