Vanessa Blais-Tremblay

Music Research
Music History/Musicology
Doctoral Student
Current research: 

“Women and the “Golden Age” of Jazz in Montreal”

My dissertation project examines the relationship between gender, musical genre, and historiography in the development of Canada¹s first and foremost jazz scene. I build on the oral histories of black women performers and show musicians in order to engage the discursive and aesthetic relationship between music and dance in early jazz scenes, and to document the musical contributions of prominent Montreal-based female jazz musicians. Montreal’s particular status as a “showtown” make it a rich laboratory to study the relationship between interwar jazz and theatrical dance. My research critically revises the assumption that theatrical dancers based their routines on a soundtrack provided independently by a jazz ensemble, and establishes black women's role in impacting several aspects of form, timbre, texture, rhythm and repertoire in the sound of interwar jazz. I am also producing the first extensive biographical notes about several female jazz pianists, instrumentalists, singers, dancers, and teachers.


Ph.D. Musicology

Graduate supervision: 

Supervisor: Lisa Barg