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date: 17 May 2021

Braddy [Smedley; Williams], Pauline S.free

  • Howard Rye

Updated in this version

updated and revised

(b Mendenhall, MS, Feb 14, 1922; d Braxton, MS, Jan 28, 1996). American drummer. Smedley, her surname from a first marriage, appears on a 1946 passenger list; the Social Security Applications and Claims Index documents that she became Pauline Williams in 1954. Her family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, when she was a child, and she attended the nearby Piney Woods School, where in 1939 she joined the Sweethearts of Rhythm. She was with the band when it severed its connections with the school in April 1941, after which it became the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Braddy participated in the band’s USO tour of Europe in 1945 and remained a member until 1949, when she joined Vi Burnside’s new group. In the early 1950s she played alongside Carline Ray in the trio led by the pianist Edna Smith. She continued to work with small groups around New York until the late 1960s, when she moved to Washington, DC, and gave up playing to work as a receptionist and switchboard operator. However, she did perform at the reunion of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm in Kansas City in 1980. She retired to Mississippi in 1994.

Selected recordings

As sideman with International Sweethearts of Rhythm

first issued on International Sweethearts of Rhythm (1944–6, Rosetta 1312), Bugle Call Rag, Galvanizing, Gin Mill Special, Honeysuckle Rose, Lady be good (1944)

first issued on [no leader]: Jazz Women: a Feminist Retrospective (1926–57, Stash 109), Tuxedo Junction (1944)

Jump Children (1945, Guild 141)

Vi Vigor (1946, Vic. 40-0146)

Selected films and videos

International Sweethearts of Rhythm (1946)

How about that Jive (1946)

Harlem Jam Session (1946)

Bibliography

  • S. Placksin: American Women in Jazz, 1900 to the Present: their Words, Lives, and Music (New York, 1982, London, 1985, as Jazzwomen, 1900 to the Present: their Words, Lives, and Music)
  • D.A. Handy: The International Sweethearts of Rhythm (Metuchen, NJ, and London, 1983, rev. 2/1996)
  • L. Dahl: Stormy Weather: the Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen (London, Melbourne, and New York, 1984)
  • Obituary, Washington Post (Feb 2, 1996)
  • S. Tucker: Swing Shift: “All-girl” Bands of the 1940s (Durham, NC, and London, 2000)