Myrtle Francois


A rare instance for her time of a female drummer, Francois came from New Orleans to Seattle, where she owned a nightclub on the corner of 12th & Yesler and sang and played drums in her own house band in the window of the club, billing herself as the “Personality Girl.” In 1950 she worked at Coe’s Tavern with pianist Ernie Hatfield and in 1953 with pianist Melody Jones in an act called “Melody and Mirth” that toured Montana. When Seattle pianist Patti Bown saw Francois perform in 1949, Bown said it gave her confidence that it was OK for a woman to play jazz. Francois moved to Los Angeles in the ’50s and left the music business.

Jackson Street After Hours (print). No known online links.