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MUSICIAN Born:

Mary Lou Williams

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 to improvise) Mary's mother invited professional musicians to their home

ARTICLE: MEET THE STAFF

Meet Pat and Mike: The Jazz Bastards

Read "Meet Pat and Mike: The Jazz Bastards" reviewed by AAJ Staff

About Pat and Mike Pat and Mike host the Jazz Bastard podcast. Mike is a English professor who normally makes his home in jny: San Diego; Pat is a lawyer's helper living in Central Indiana. They met as Freshmen in college and having been bugging each other ever since. (Mike--Actually I'm a Humanities lecturer--if ...

ARTICLE: HISTORY OF JAZZ

Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists

Read "Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

[The following is a commentary on pianist Richie Beirach's 2020 e-book The Historical Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano: The 10 Essential Players (Conversations between Richie Beirach and Michael Lake), downloadable free of cost here.] Jazz piano has always garnered (no intended reference to Erroll Garner) special interest among the instruments because it is truly ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Excuse My Dust- -Dorothy Parker Returns to New York

Read "Excuse My Dust- -Dorothy Parker Returns to New York" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

To celebrate the return of Dorothy Parker's ashes to her native New York, we open with a new version of Mrs. Parker's classic “I Wished On The Moon," performed by Diana Krall, along with new releases from saxophonist Teodross Avery, vocalist Elisabeth Lohninger, drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, violinist Tomoko Omura, pianist Maggie Herron and the Flying ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

The Way You Look Tonight - Celebrating Dorothy Fields

Read "The Way You Look Tonight - Celebrating Dorothy Fields" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

The first hour celebrates the birthday of legendary lyricist Dorothy Fields in addition to new releases from Susan Tobocman, Emilie-Claire Barlow and Bocana, Callum Au and Claire Martin plus an instrumental by Mimi Fox of “Better Times Will Come," part of Janis Ian's Better Times Project. Birthday shout-outs to guitarist Mary Osborne, baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian, ...

Sex & Drugs & Jazz & Jive: Top Ten Stash Records Albums

Read "Sex & Drugs & Jazz & Jive: Top Ten Stash Records Albums" reviewed by Chris May

With all the transgressive flair you would expect of bohemian New York City in the 1970s and 1980s, Bernie Brightman's Stash Records made its name with a hugely entertaining series of sex and drugs-themed compilations of swing-era recordings. The first was Reefer Songs in 1976. But Brightman's legacy extends much further. There was a finite amount ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Mothers Day with Birthday Celebrations for Mary Lou Williams and Carla Bley

Read "Mothers Day with Birthday Celebrations for Mary Lou Williams and Carla Bley" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

The Mothers Day broadcast included new releases from the Posi-Tone Swingtet, bassist Anne Mette Iversen, vocalists Joan Watson-Jones, Rachelle Garniez, and Diane Schuur plus the Charles Pillow Ensemble, with birthday shout-outs to Carla Bley and Mary Lou Williams as well as a nod to a few Jazz Mothers and their children. Thanks for your continued support ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Dave Douglas: Dizzy Atmosphere: Dizzy Gillespie At Zero Gravity

Read "Dizzy Atmosphere: Dizzy Gillespie At Zero Gravity" reviewed by Giuseppe Segala

Chi si aspetta da questo disco un omaggio fedele all'approccio umoristico e pirotecnico di Dizzy Gillespie, non conosce Dave Douglas. Il trombettista, che ha compiuto lo scorso marzo cinquantasette anni, ha mostrato nelle frequenti dediche ai protagonisti della storia del jazz la propria propensione del tutto personale a tale pratica: lo ha fatto tra l'altro con ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Dave Douglas: Dizzy Atmosphere: Dizzy Gillespie At Zero Gravity

Read "Dizzy Atmosphere: Dizzy Gillespie At Zero Gravity" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The distinctive trumpet of Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993), with the idiosyncratic upward angle of its bell, is transformed into a starship on the cover of Dave Douglas' Dizzy Atmosphere: Dizzy Gillespie in Zero Gravity, seemingly soaring above the stratosphere, in Earth orbit. Douglas has a history of nodding to past greats: pianist Mary Lou Williams on Soul ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

The Touch of Your Lips, Part II: Touch and Tone Color in Jazz Piano

Read "The Touch of Your Lips, Part II: Touch and Tone Color in Jazz Piano" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 As mentioned in Part I, tone color took on a prominent role in classical music in the 19C. The Romantic composers like Wagner, Strauss, Berlioz, Chopin and many others were, I think it is fair to say, somewhat obsessed with it. The composers before them were ...


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