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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Lou Williams: Mary Lou Williams At Rick's Cafe Americain

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The second album of this double CD issue was released by Storyville in 1998, under the same title. Valuable enough in its way, featuring pianist Mary Lou Williams three years before her death, playing standards that include one of her own, “What's Your Story, Morning Glory?," originally composed for the Andy Kirk band in the days when she was the “baby at the baby grand." But the icing on the cake of this reissue is another disc, that features six solo numbers and an additional eight trio tracks, all from the same gig. Williams' playing is incredibly ...

DISTRICT JAZZ

Mary Lou Williams Festival 2010

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Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz FestivalKennedy CenterWashington, DCMay 20-22, 2010 In celebration of the 100th anniversary of her birth, this year's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival was dedicated to the music of its namesake. This focus lent the festival's 15th year at the Kennedy Center a special significance and provided an opportunity to honor the compositions and musical adventurousness of one of jazz's greatest figures, often hailed as the genre's most influential female contributor. Prior to the festival, the Kennedy Center embarked on an ambitious project ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Lou Williams: A Grand Night for Swinging

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It's always a pleasure to welcome a “new" album by pianist Mary Lou Williams, even one recorded more than three decades ago under less than favorable circumstances. Williams' trio (Ronnie Boykins, bass; Roy Haynes, drums) was taped in mid-winter 1976 during a long-running gig in snow-covered Buffalo, New York. As is true of many live recordings, especially those made years ago, the sound varies noticeably from track to track, with fluctuating volume levels and some surface noise, but Williams and her partners rise above those blemishes to present a consistently satisfying program of standards and originals.

The concert begins and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Lou Williams: A Grand Night for Swinging

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If Mary Lou Williams had never resumed her career after she abandoned it for religious reasons in the early 1950s, her paramount place in jazz history would still be secure. As a pianist, composer and arranger from the late 1920s through the 1940s, she was the music's premiere female musician, working with the likes of Andy Kirk, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Duke Ellington during the Swing Era. And when bebop came along, Williams embraced it and befriended the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. But thanks to a Jesuit priest, Peter F. O'Brien ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Mary Lou Williams: Mary Lou's Mass, My Mama Pinned a Rose on Me, Zodiac Suite Revisited, The Lady Who Swings the Band

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Mary Lou Williams Mary Lou's Mass Smithsonian Folkways 2006 Mary Lou Williams My Mama Pinned a Rose on Me OJC 2005 Mary Lou Williams Collective Zodiac Suite Revisited Mary Records 2006 Dutch Jazz Orchestra The Lady Who Swings the Band Challenge 2006 Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981)--pianist, composer, arranger and teacher--was not only the First Lady of jazz; she ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Mary Lou Williams Collective: Zodiac Suite: Revisited

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The Zodiac Suite was composed by pianist Mary Lou Williams in 1944-45 and recorded shortly thereafter. It was also performed on Williams' weekly radio program in 1944. The suite consists of twelve segments, each musically describing one sign of the Zodiac, and is regarded as Mary Lou Williams' most important work. Each of the compositions was dedicated by Williams to personalities as diverse as Ben Webster, Leonard Feather and then-president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It has been sixty years since the last recording of the complete Zodiac Suite. This project was sponsored by the Mary Lou Williams Foundation, and ...

BIOGRAPHIES

Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band

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Imagine a pianist playing concerts with Benny Goodman and Cecil Taylor in successive years (1977-78). That pianist was Mary Lou Williams. In a career which spanned over fifty years Mary was always on the cutting edge.

She was born Mary Scruggs in 1910 Atlanta. Her mother was a single parent who worked as a domestic and played spirituals and ragtime on piano and organ. At age three Mary shocked her by reaching up from her mother's lap to pick out a tune on the keyboard. Rather than hiring a teacher (for fear the child would lose the ability ...



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