Screenshot/still from '... but can she play'

*Los Angeles / Pasedana CA — The Hailey Niswanger Quartet, featuring some of the finest young jazz talents from Berklee College of Music and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI), will make its Southern California debut at the auction, raffle and concert to benefit the women horn players in jazz documentary, … but can she play?, on Sunday, November 13, 2011 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is hosted by NOOR, 260 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91105. NOOR, JAZZIZ Magazine, Pasadena Arts Council and Art 2 Ink of Glendora, CA are among the event sponsors.

Niswanger, a charter member of the BGJI led by Grammy-winning jazz pianist Danilo Pérez, is a featured artist in … but can she play?, the first feature-length film exclusively chronicling the lives and music of female saxophone and brass players. Beyond a compelling narrative, the film also aims to inform and encourage girls toward careers in jazz. …but can she play?, currently in production, is an EMERGE Fiscal Sponsorship project of the Pasadena Arts Council, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. All contributions to the film are tax-deductible under Federal ID 95-2540759, and proceeds from the concert will finance film production for …but can she play? through the first quarter of 2012.

… but can she play? marks the directorial debut of award-winning Los Angeles journalist Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, a former freelance columnist for the Associated Press whose work has been published in a variety of consumer and trade publications. A native Angeleno, she is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and, in 2008, after nearly 20 years in journalism, received her Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California, where the genesis of this project began.

Janice Roshalle Littlejohn

Tickets for the benefit are now available online for $75 per person at Checks can be made payable to “Pasadena Arts Council/but can sheplay” (Note: “for benefit concert” in the memo). Mail to Pasadena Arts Council 65 S. Grand Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105. Space is limited.

Pasadena’s premiere event space, NOOR, is located in historic downtown Pasadena between the California Mediterranean architecture of Pasadena City Hall and overlooking the famed Colorado Boulevard. Its 1920’s art deco-inspired restaurant, the Ella ballroom, is reminiscent of the elegance and style of old Hollywood. The restaurant provides cutting-edge modern Mediterranean cuisine along with hand crafted Prohibition-era drinks prepared by resident mixologists and a top-tier selection of wines.

Sponsorship opportunities for the event are still available; auction items and in-kind donations are also welcome. Contact Tracy Littlejohn, event producer at [email protected]; 818.522.8179 or go online at for more information.


About the Film: … but can she play?, currently in production, is the first feature-length film chronicling the lives and music of women saxophone, trumpet and trombone players in jazz. The story chronicles a year-in-the-life of 21-year-old Hailey Niswanger as she completes her studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston and prepares the follow-up CD to her acclaimed 2009 debut, Confeddie, which established her throughout North America as a leading new talent in jazz.

Woven into the narrative thread of the film are the stories of other female horn players who are challenging the age-old gender biases of the genre’s boys’ club. Among them: saxophonists Tia Fuller, Claire Daly, Lauren Sevian; trumpeters Kiku Collins, Linsey McDonald, Christine Fawson; trombonists Robynn Amy, Aubrey Logan, Jennifer Wharton and Stephanie Baird and others; mothers, wives, single ladies; teachers, recording artists and students…all pushing themselves – and their art – on the road and in the classroom, and becoming prominent in the transformation of contemporary American jazz.

Beyond a compelling story, … but can she play? gives voice to a group of musicians who are largely unseen, and underappreciated, by the public. Further, the film aims to inform and encourage girls toward careers in jazz as well as support, develop and/or provide jazz and music education opportunities for students in underprivileged schools where funding for music education is lacking or non-existent.

The film’s music education initiatives are sponsored by ChopSaver Lip Balm, and are supported through partnerships with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the City of Pasadena Department of Cultural Affairs, Berklee College of Music, Los Angeles and Just Lovin’ Music Studios.

… but can she play? raises its production financing through tax-deductible donations from corporations, foundations, associations and individuals, particularly those with an interest in music, jazz, the arts, women, African American issues, history and education. The Pasadena Arts Council (PAC) serves as fiscal sponsor for …but can she play? through its EMERGE program.

For nearly 50 years, the PAC has been among California’s premiere non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations providing resource, program and services to artists, art and cultural organization, audiences and young people. The PAC offers an independent voice for promoting a vibrant cultural community by facilitating, empowering and advocating for the arts. The PAC EMERGE program is listed in the national Fiscal Sponsor Directory.




Delilah De La Rosa
[email protected]