“It was rare to find a woman jazz musician in the Fifties. Even more rare to find one who played hotter jazz than her colleagues. The tenor saxophonist Betty Smith was one such” – Steve Voce in The Independent (28th Jan). The rest here.
Above: Betty with her Quintet
Betty was a great tenor player in the Bud Freeman/Eddie Miller tradition (and also a pretty good singer). The only other female instrumentalist (another sax player, as it happened) of any significance on the British jazz scene of the 50′s and 60′s was Kathy Stobart with Humph’s band.
There has been (to the best of my knowledge) no serious study of women in jazz since Sally Placksin’s 1982 book ‘American Women In Jazz’, and that (as is obvious from the title) didn’t deal with jazz women in Europe or the UK. The time is ripe for further study and recognition.
Anyway, here’s Betty guesting with the Ted Easton Band (Bobby Hackett also present and playing a nice cornet obligatto behind Betty’s vocal), in 1973: