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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
By Rev. Peter F. O'Brien, S.J. I met Mary Lou Williams in the pages of Time Magazine. It was early 1964. She was 53 years old and I was 23. The article, under MUSIC, was in two parts - each about a different woman. The first concerned itself with Sarah Caldwell. Ms. Caldwell directed and produced operas and was the inventor of The Boston Opera Company. The sub-heading over her section of the story read: The Persistent ...read more