Project Description

Judy Chaikin on Lil Hardin

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.


Director: Julie Hébert
DP: Sevdije Kastrati
Editor: Steph Zenee Perez
Producer: Courtney Graham
Co-Producer: Jill Klein
Sound Recordist/Mixer: Lorita De la Cerna
PA/Photographer: Tegan Molloy
PA/Photographer: Kimberly Tompkins

More About…



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).



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.

Photos of Lil Harden from “Just for a Thrill: Lil Harden Armstrong, First Lady of Jazz” by James L. Dickerson (Sartoris Literary Group)