Women have been involved with jazz since its inception, but all too often their achievements were not as well known as those of their male counterparts. Some Liked It Hot looks at all-girl bands and jazz women from the 1920s through the 1950s and how they fit into the nascent mass culture, particularly film and television, to uncover some of the historical motivations for excluding women from the now firmly established jazz canon. This well-illustrated book chronicles who appeared where and when in over 80 performances, captured in both popular Hollywood productions and in relatively unknown films and television shows.
As McGee shows, these performances reflected complex racial attitudes emerging in American culture during the first half of the twentieth century. Her analysis illuminates the heavily mediated representational strategies that jazz women adopted, highlighting the role that race played in constituting public performances of various styles of jazz from “swing” to “hot” and “sweet.” The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Hazel Scott, the Ingenues, Peggy Lee, and Paul Whiteman are just a few of the performers covered in the book, which also includes a detailed filmography.