She's known as the first lady of jazz and has one of the Crescent City’s most beautiful voices. Tonight, through our partnership with WWOZ Radio, we celebrate another true Guardian of the Groove, Germaine Bazzle.
Jellyroll Justice: My name is Jellyroll Justice. I'm a DJ at WWOZ here in New Orleans, We're interviewing a legend as a master teacher of jazz, and also a legend as a jazz singer known throughout the world, Mrs. Germaine Bazzle. Mrs. Germaine, can you tell us about your education as you grew up in music?
Germaine Bazzle: I grew up in a family where the only person I do not remember playing piano was my grandfather, but my grandmother, my aunts, my uncles, my mom, my dad, everybody played piano because that was the instrument that was in the homes at that time.
Justice: Can you tell us how you got into scatting and also your ability to replicate the sounds of instruments?
Bazzle: Our instructor, Sister Letitia, when she was trying to get the brass instruments to do some kind of phrasing, or whatever she was asking them to do, she used to do that little sound -- you know, deet-deedle-deet, doot doot, that kind of thing. That's how that got started.
Then I decided I wasn't going to listen to any singers for a long, long time. All I wanted to do was just listen to instrumentalists, and being in college around a lot of musicians who played jazz, our thing was to be able to learn everybody's solo from the recording. So we'd sit in the co-op and listen to all of these solos, and that's how we really got into it because listening to guys and imitating what we heard on the recording, there are no words.
Justice: Mrs. Germaine, can you please share with us what joy you get out of teaching students?
Bazzle: I realized how important it was to be able to get young people to discover something inside them, that nobody could take away from them. You learn how to discover the beautiful things that are going on inside of you and you learn how to express it.
I had this little fellow who was really a discipline problem. He was older than most of the kids in the class and sometimes he could become a problems. But one of the most beautiful voices! Pure! Oh my gosh!
And he just sang and he played that role of that old man, and he was just on top of it. From that day on, there were no problems with that little boy. His friends recognized him, he got recognition, he was somebody. The whole school had a different appreciation for that little boy.