BLUES IS A WOMAN is a theatrical concert celebrating women blues artists from Ma Rainey to Bonnie Raitt. A brilliant ensemble of women musicians perform musical treasures as they tell stories, punctuated by rare historical film footage. The audience is transported back to the early roots of America’s most enduring art form.
All of the cast members are highly regarded Bay Area musicians: Tammy Hall (piano), Ruth Davies (bass), Kristen Strom (saxophone), Daria Johnson (drums) and Pat Wilder (guitar). The Creative Director is Jayne Wenger.
The piece is written by San Francisco educator and vocalist Pamela Rose. Rose‘s previous work “Wild Women of Song: Great Gal Composers of the Jazz Era” shone a light on key women in early jazz and toured nationally for five years, gathering critical acclaim:
“Pamela Rose’s …superb work about women in early Jazz has really caught FIRE around the country!” DownBeat
“A joyous female-centric perspective to Jazz History!” Jazz Times Magazine
Made possible with support from Koret Foundation and Intersection for the Arts.
Pamela Rose (author, vocalist) is a San Francisco jazz and blues vocalist who has thrilled audiences locally and internationally for decades with her swinging, soulful style. With six recordings to her name, including the NPR featured “You Could Have It All”, Rose has performed at clubs and jazz and blues festivals throughout the United States, Germany and Denmark. In recent years, Rose has toured nationally with her critically acclaimed show “Wild Women of Song: Great Gal Composers of the Jazz Era.” Local appearances included SFJAZZ, Monterey Jazz Festival, Stanford Jazz, Feinstein’s (NY and SF), Cal Performances, Annenberg Center, Tonnhalle (Germany), Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Yoshi’s, Haugh Center for the Arts, and the Fillmore Jazz Festival.
Tammy Hall (Music Director/Pianist/Vocals) has been music director and accompanist for Mary Wilson, Kim Nalley, Marcus Shelby, Ernestine Anderson, Etta Jones and many others. She has performed extensively in Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay and Europe. This San Francisco resident also devotes much time to local community arts organizations: SF Symphony’s (AIM), in collaboration with the San Francisco Unified School District, Boys & Girls Club of SF, Jazz Camp for Girls at the California Jazz Conservatory, Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, and Stanford Jazz Workshop.
Pat Wilder – Guitars/Vocals has spent the past 30 years working as guitarist in a series of funk, rock, and blues bands around the Bay Area including stints with keyboardist Billy Dunn and singers Curtis Lawson, Zakiya Hooker, Jimmy McCracklin, and Luther Tucker.
Oakland resident Ruth Davies (Bass) has lent her fluid, expressive upright Bass stylings to many internationally touring artists. Jazz and Blues stars such as Charles Brown, Bonnie Raitt, Clark Terry, Elvin Bishop, Van Morrison are among her long list of tour and recording credentials. Her discography includes many Platinum and Grammy-winning recordings.
Bay Area native Kristen Strom (saxophonist, vocals) has performed with Manhattan Transfer, Roberta Flack, John Mathis, the San Jose Symphony, Natalie Cole, the Temptations, the Four Tops, and Beach Blanket Babylon. Kristen Strom toured extensively over the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, and headlined at the 2015 Monterey Jazz Festival with her critically lauded group “Crossing Borders”.
Daria ‘Shani’ Johnson (drummer, vocalist) is a San Francisco based drummer, singer and multi-instrumentalist with a smooth sensual style and dynamic spirit on stage. A Berklee College of Music grad, she fronted her own band London Street, which opened for India Airie, Erykah Bada, Brandi Carlisle and John Legend.
Jayne Wenger (Creative Director) is a director and dramaturg whose exclusive focus is on original material. She has developed the emerging work of acclaimed playwrights, composers and choreographers nationwide and her work has been recognized with numerous awards. She is the past Artistic Director of Bay Area Playwrights Foundation (BAPF) and Women’s Ensemble in New York. Currently she is the Director of Creative Process for the BAPF. Selected recent collaborations include The Lariat, a new opera by Lisa Scold Prosek, Men Think They Are Better Than Grass by the Deborah Slater Dance Theater and The Unreliable Bestiary (unreliablebestiary.org), a lifelong project by Deke Weaver. She was the director and dramaturg for The Winter Bear Project an on-going performing arts and social outreach initiative focused on teen suicide in the rural Native Alaskan communities. Jayne is an alumna of Djerassi Resident Artist Program; a guest artist and advisory board member for The Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska, and has taught at ArtWorkshop International in Assisi, Italy. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the League of Professional Theater Women.