Harry Connick Jr.'s Boys in the Band

In early January, some of the MNN producers were given VIP tickets to sit in the studio audience for a taping of “The Harry Connick Jr. Show,” so April and I took advantage of this opportunity. The lavish set in the gigantic studio was most impressive; and I, of course, was immediately struck by the beautiful white 9-foot concert grand Steinway prominently positioned on the stage.

Harry Connick Jr. at his Steinway

We were told by the staff and the floor manager to prepare to have a good time, because we were about to hear some great music. And they were right! Harry Connick Jr.’s band is one of the best groups of musicians in the talk show circuit. These were top-quality instrumentalists, many of whom have played with Harry for years. But again, as I have observed so many times, Harry Connick Jr. did not have one female in his band. 

Harry and his band

Now I’m sure that, if questioned about it, Harry would say that his band members travel together, sometimes in tight quarters, and sometimes must change clothes while in the same room, etc. etc. Okay. Those may be the conditions while traveling on tour. But when you are taping a nationally syndicated TV show in the CBS Studios, you have a responsibility to show your audience that you do not discriminate. This is also about economics: the men in his band are able to provide for their families, while female musicians are forced to wait on the sidelines for work and income.

Mary Lou Williams
Pianist Mary Lou Williams could tell you all about sexism among jazz musicians. She was one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time; yet she had to form her own band to avoid the risk of being booked to play with bands that would not respect her artistry. She is one of my idols. When men in the jazz world refused to recognize her genius, she turned to the religious world and composed a Mass for performance in sacred settings. A role-model and warrior… Rest in Power, Mary Lou!

Mary Lou Williams performing at St. Patrick's Cathedral


Popular posts from this blog

Remembrances of the Clit Club

Nina Kennedy's "Practicing for Love: A Memoir" is Nominated for 2021 Lambda Literary Award

JOI CARDWELL at Club Bonafide