The Palm Springs Women's Jazz and Blues Association
is a 501c3 non-profit organization. ID #47-4961438
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
The Palm Springs Women’s Jazz and Blues Assoc. exists to preserve and foster an appreciation of jazz and blues music and to support female jazz and blues musicians who traditionally struggle for recognition and employment. The festival includes concerts, exhibits, presentations, films and other events that promote an understanding and enjoyment of the work of women artists.
For questions about donations, sponsorship and support please contact us at:
Phone: (760) 416-3545
MEET the BOARD
Gail Christian - Chair, Programming
Gail Christian, one of the founding members of the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival in 2003, has a storied career that spans a few decades. As a retired TV news reporter and a lifelong jazz fan; Gail’s reporting career includes a White House correspondent for NPR and having the privilege of witnessing first-hand one of the most polarizing events of the 20th century; the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing. While covering major events such as this, for Gail, jazz was always roaming within her spirit and she recognized early, the disparities between male and female jazz artists.
Despite her news reporting commitments, her love of jazz didn’t preclude Gail from becoming the General Manager of jazz station WPFW in Washington DC. As a Blues Deejay, Gail saw reporting the news and singing the blues as being very closely related, as they both are framed from pain. Listening to many of the early female blues artists that created paths for so many female jazz artists today, a passionate love affair for female jazz artists had developed and Gail was clear on what her life purpose was becoming. Gail chooses not to expound upon her illustrious career, her exceptional educational achievements and that she has traveled extensively internationally.
When asked what she considers her greatest career achievement, without any hesitation; Gail states “it’s the founding of the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz and Blues Festival and Association. The legacy of ensuring that female jazz artists are compensated fairly and treated with the dignity and respect they have earned and deserve, is all that I desire to leave as my legacy.”
Lucy DeBardelaben - Chair, Finance
It has been said “the only perfection in this world is music and math. The reason being is that if one note or number is off…the rest doesn’t add up.” With over 30 years of accounting experience as an auditor for two Big Four accounting firms and Co-Founder of Palm Spring’s Women’s Jazz and Blues Festival, Lucy is “at home” with numbers and musical notes. This is where her perfection is found and it definitely adds up.
As the Granddaughter of Sharecroppers, growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, hearing the singing of “Blues” was common place and Lucy became a “fanatic and supporter” of this time honored art form. Lucy understood, what it means to have a gift, and not have the opportunity to further magnify the gift or given acknowledgement for being extraordinary with that gift. Because of Lucy’s first-hand knowledge of female Blues artists, and along with her love of math and music, Lucy has prided herself on advocating for women, who sing the “Blues.” This is the reason the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz and Blues Festival is extremely important to her. She wants the female artists who have made priceless contributions to the Blues art form be given recognition, appreciation and respect, and therefore creating opportunity for the women who are following the same Blues driven pathway.
Lucy’s distinguished career of advocating for women, human rights and the arts includes Finance Director for the Palm Springs Art Museum, Controller for Non-Profit organizations in Palm Springs, Ca, Los Angeles, CA and Washington, DC. Lucy’s advocacy also includes former Board Member of the LGBTQ+ Center of the Desert, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,
Habitat for Humanity Coachella Valley and The Women’s Business Circle, Palm Springs and Angel View.
Along with Gail Christian, Lucy has received numerous awards which include the 2013 Spirit Award, Palm Springs Pride, 2016 Community Service Award, L-Fund Palm Springs, 2018 Community Service Award, Palm Springs Human Rights Commission and the 2019 Harvey Milk Leadership Award.
Patty M. Henderson - Chair, Nominations
If one were asked to describe Patty in three words, most likely involved, engaged and committed would be the three words most offered. As an original member of Palm Springs Women’s Jazz & Blues Association, Patty continues to be involved, engaged and committed to her ongoing service as a Board member since 2013.
With years of professional experience, Patty has served on numerous Boards, locally and nationally as both Chair and Member. Nationally, Patty represented Hawaii and the five Western Regional States as well as Guam on the Board of Directors National Association of Protection and Advocacy for marginalized and disenfranchised individuals. Patty initiated and became the first Executive Director of P&A, CEO and Chief Advocate for the State of Hawaii for 15 years. Because of her dedication and service, Patty was listed in the Marquis Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who of the West. Formerly Patty served as President of Palm Springs National Organization for Women, Executive Chair and Director on The Women's Company (TWC) Board and recently a Director on The L-Fund Board.
As a former Principal, Counselor/Therapist along with her background as a Special Education Teacher and Social Worker, Patty has conducted Board/Staff training for Pride Center, Palm Springs and San Diego Business Associations, Court Appointed Advocates Association (CASA), Office on Aging, College of the Desert to name a few and conducted mediation sessions with various organizations, private individuals and families.
Currently, Patty continues to be involved, engaged and committed to The Woman’s Company and the
L-Fund as she continues working as a Professional Consultant, Certified Mediator and Conducts Conflict Resolution sessions.
Dorothea Barlow - Secretary
It seems fitting that Dorothea would accept the opportunity to become a Board Member of the Palm Springs Women's Jazz and Blues Foundation. As first chair upright Bass player for her High School orchestra, Dorothea could not be convinced by her Mother to pursue a music degree as she began her college education. As Dorothea stated “I thought, I had really grown tired of music and instead received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Ball State University and a Master in Business from University of Redlands. Dorothea states “who knows what may have happened if I had listened to my Mother.”
Retiring as a Vice President Relationship Manager in Banking, Dorothea feels she “returned home” upon accepting the invitation to join the Board as it melds music and business. Working as a Board Member, is reminiscent of being a member of her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sisterhood in college. Women working together to assist other women achieve their goals.
Dorothea hopes to convince young women, especially high school musicians, to “accept that as you move through your life, you will experience major, minor, diminished and augmented chords.” However, “you will never grow tired of music; as all those notes, learned and composed, will become the soundtrack of your life...forever.
Florence Mansfield - IT Initiatives
STEM is an acronym that is old news to Florence. As a graduate of Philadelphia High School for Girls, and the University of Pennsylvania, Florence took the “T” in STEM before it became popular, creating a career that led to managing $30M+ IT projects for a financial management company. Florence’s movement into the field was years ahead of the current focus of young girls and women being encouraged to enter the IT field.
Having previously served on the Palm Springs, California based L-Fund, an organization that assists in bringing financial assistance to women, Florence’s skills were immediately welcomed on the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz and Blues Association, as a multi-tasker and collaborator with a penchant for proactive problem resolution. Among the myriad of IT solutions that Florence will be solving for the Board, will be her expertise in advising the Board on IT initiatives that will allow the Board to select the information technology products and services that will be most beneficial to it’s mission.
“I relish the though of being able to assist and lift up female musicians. Serving on the Board affords me the opportunity to utilize my knowledge and skills to help to contribute to the women who have made an indelible mark within the world of jazz and blues.”
MEET our Artistic Director
Sweet Baby J'ai- Artistic Director
Sweet Baby J'ai is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed jazz singer, songwriter, producer, actress, and educator. She is the Co-founder and Artistic Director for the Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival. She is honored as a Living Jazz Legend, inducted into the California Jazz and Blues Museum Hall of Fame, and recently awarded the HRC Advocate for Equality Award. She has toured the world with her genre-defying work, embracing and expanding jazz tradition.
She brings a wealth of experience and focus to the Festival. Her work in jazz and performance spans nearly thirty years, including music direction for clubs, festivals, and events, producing interdisciplinary projects in music, theater, dance, visual art, and film. J'ai's artistic vision for the Festival features her Women in Jazz All-Stars, presenting some of the world's most visible, high-level female jazz performers with cutting-edge, emerging artists for each performance; always innovative and captivating. She often brings performers together for the first time on the performance day, which she refers to as spontaneous combustion - pure magic.
J'ai has a long history of leadership in the nonprofit, LGBTQ, and education sectors. She recently served as the Executive Creative Director of the Educational Theatre Institute, is an award-winning arts educator and administrator in Los Angeles and Southern California, and founded Sunset Music, presenting jazz and education events nationwide.
Known for her sensual and powerful vocals, some critics describe her as a "jazz singer," others as a "blues singer." Still, all agree that this versatile singer-songwriter is a "storyteller," telling the tale of the Festival around the world. J'ai's passion for promoting the accomplishments of women in music has helped The Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival grow to be one of the most popular festivals in the Coachella Valley. And, her parallel career in arts education allows her to work with students through programs she helped design to build confidence, improve communication skills, critical thinking, and heighten creativity and professionalism - Giving back and lifting up!