Judy Chaikin on Lil Hardin

“Nobody wanted her where she was, yet she had so much confidence in her ability. ”

Lil Hardin. Heard of her? You should have. A brilliant jazz musician, composer and arranger, Lil was a child prodigy playing with the most sophisticated jazz players of the day when she was only 16 years old. Married to Louis Armstrong, she created the famous Hot Five and wrote their tunes. Click on our video to hear filmmaker Judy Chaikin tell the story of this force of nature who took the music scene by storm. A woman to be remembered.


Judy Chaikin

Judy Chaikin is an Emmy-nominated, award-winning writer, director and producer best known for the PBS documentary, Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist. Her work spans feature films, television and theater. Her current film, The Girls in the Band, a documentary about women jazz instrumentalists, won six Best Film Festival Awards, premiered at Lincoln Center receiving rave reviews, including the New York Times, where it was Critics Pick of the Week. Judy is a graduate of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, a member of the Director’s Guild of America, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, The Actors Studio and is a former Board Member of the Alliance of Women Directors (AWD) and the International Documentary Association (IDA).

Featured Woman

Lil Hardin

Lil Hardin was a pianist, composer, singer, and band leader who helped introduce America to jazz music. She established a reputation as “Hot Miss Lil,” one of the few female band members of her time. Lil played on many of the first jazz recordings ever made and wrote many of the early songs of the jazz era. Married to Louis Armstrong, she wrote songs and performed with him, helping to make him an international star.