Drawing on interviews with many of Benson’s former band members and other primary accounts, Tennant weaves an engaging, well-contextualized chronological account. The narrative is straightforward, and Tennant addresses gender discrimination and Benson’s legacy. Recommended.
A lively, carefully researched book that recounts the lives of Benson and her sister musicians in the 1930s and on into the pre- and postwar years in England. As in other fields during World War II, women musicians had more opportunities when their male counterparts left civilian life to serve their country. At first the group played only jazz and swing, but under Ivy’s leadership their repertoire grew to include current pop hits as well. Through the years the roster of musicians would change frequently as many of the players left to marry, often to American GIs. Benson once quipped, “I sometimes thought it was not so much a band as a mobile marriage market.” If this story strikes a chord with readers, they’ll appreciate the recordings on YouTube. VERDICT A satisfying look at a trailblazer and noteworthy role model.
3/23/2021: Sax Appeal received a nice write up in the Isle of Man Today.