Ladies First Jazz Combo feel a responsibility to educate the next generation of jazz performers and audiences. They are dedicated to making this unique American art form and musical history accessible to audiences everywhere.
Ladies First Jazz Combo, formed in 1991, is led by award-winning bassist Jennifer May. She is joined by co-founder Peggy Scalzo on drums, Jennie Jones on saxophone and vocals; Carol Jean Swist on keyboards, and Julie Winden on trumpet.
The Combo has performed at many venues in the Buffalo and surrounding areas earning nominations from local jazz award organizations. Jennifer May started her career at Buffalo’s historic Colored Musicians Club in 1982 and toured for 5 years performing at embassies and military bases worldwide with an R&B band through the Department of Defense. She has been awarded best R&B Bassist four times by the Buffalo Music Awards and has received many nominations (along with the Combo) from various awards organizations, most recently the JazzBuffalo awards.
Peggy Scalzo has performed different genres of music in nationally known bands across New York State, most notably with Dave Schiavonne. She is also a pit crew drummer for MusicalFare. Jennie Jones studied saxophone with Dave Schiavonne, playing Alto, Tenor, and Soprano saxophones. She also plays clarinet and flute and is a jazz vocalist. Julie Windon performed with the Niagara County Community College Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band, and she is now a musician performing on trumpet and flugelhorn, and is a science teacher. Carol Jean Swist is a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and performs locally on keyboard with various blues bands.