Women have come a long way in the world of jazz since the days of people like Lil Hardin Armstrong, second wife of Louis Armstrong, says award-winning jazz bassist Jodi Proznick.

"If you look at the jazz landscape, just looking at the Juno nominations this year in the instrumental categories, there are significantly more women that are creating music, writing music, leading bands, which is a really, really great thing," said Proznick, who also heads the jazz department at the VSO school of music, and is on faculty at Kwantlen and Capilano Universities.

Proznick and her quartet will be performing with Laila Biali on March 2 and 3 as part of a special series from Coastal Jazz.

The Women in Jazz series begins Feb. 28 and runs until March 11, with all the shows taking place at Frankie's Jazz Club on Beatty Street in Vancouver.

Proznick said Lil Hardin Armstrong, who was a bandleader and also collaborated on Louis Armstrong's recordings in the 1920s, is definitely an inspiration for women in jazz.

"She was totally swinging and totally capable and apparently by all accounts an amazing performer, and I can just imagine what it must have been like for her in a sea of men at that time in history," Proznick told Hot Air host Margaret Gallagher.

"The inner jazz goddess she must have had on fire in her, to just get in the position she did and to hold her own in that way."

Proznick said that while there were likely many women in their teens and early twenties who were competent musicians, it was often the expectation to get married and have children that took them away from music — either temporarily, like jazz singer and pianist Shirley Horn, or permanently.

Proznick is excited to participate in the Women in Jazz series to celebrate how far women have come in the world of jazz, and said it is important to have a series promoting female music accomplishments.

"I think the numbers speak to that, there's maybe 10 to 20 per cent of working professional musicians are women in non-classical fields," she said.

"We're definitely moving in the right direction. But we do still have a ways to go and that's where this festival is helping to celebrate and support the movement forward."


To hear the full Hot Air show with Jodi Proznick listen to the audio labelled: Vancouver jazz bassist Jodi Proznick performing as part of Coastal Jazz's Women in Jazz series