Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Ivy Graydon dead at 97

Published:Tuesday | May 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Ivy Graydon, a renowned jazz musician, passed away on May 6. She was 97 years old.

She formed the Ivy Graydon Orchestra, the first Jamaican female-led orchestra, during the 1930s. The group comprised 11 male musicians, including her son Dudley Graydon who played sax. Ivy Graydon was honoured by fellow musicians when she was inducted into the Jamaica Jazz Hall of Fame at a ceremony held at King's House in 2001.

During the 1930s, '40s and '50s, she played at the famous Myrtle Bank Hotel, the Glass Bucket nightclub and throughout the north coast circuit of hotels where she was in constant demand. Her group was also the resident band for a number of years for the annual White Christmas Ball held at the Holy Rosary Church Hall on Windward Road.

Ivy Graydon was a true professional and disciplinarian and, according to Myrna Hague, who got to know her over the years, "She must have been an excellent musician or else she would not have had the respect and admiration of the 11 men under her command at that time nor would she have been able to maintain the band for so long."

Ivy was described by her granddaughter, Aldene Shillingford, as "a self-motivated trailblazer for women, an early feminist who challenged the stereotypes and the status quo and who demonstrated not just the possibilities that women could attain, but also that they had the right to do so".

Ivy Graydon is survived by her daughter Gloria Phillipps, daughter-in-law Veronica Graydon, six grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.