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Mary Lou Williams

Born:

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

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Article: Radio

New Releases and A Celebration of Mary Lou Williams

Read "New Releases and A Celebration of Mary Lou Williams" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


Our Mothers Day broadcast highlights new releases from Jennifer Wharton's Bonegasm, vocalists Dee Daniels, Bill Kwan, Roxana Amed and saxophonist Alexa Tarantino with birthday shoutouts to Mary Lou Williams (a formidable Jazz Mother on so many fronts), Andrea Brachfeld and Tania Maria, among others. Thanks for listening and please support the artists you hear by purchasing ...

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Article: Profile

Thelonious Monk: A Thriving Legacy

Read "Thelonious Monk: A Thriving Legacy" reviewed by Doug Hall


If legendary jazz musicians were collected together in one giant jigsaw puzzle and each musician was one piece—Thelonious Monk's individual piece would be impossible to cut out. As a singular artist, his shape or place in jazz is too uniquely non-conforming. From a musical and historical standpoint, he is recognized as one of the ...

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Article: Rediscovery

International Sweethearts of Rhythm: una big band di donne afroamericane nella società sessista degli anni Quaranta.

Read "International Sweethearts of Rhythm: una big band di donne afroamericane nella società sessista degli anni Quaranta." reviewed by Maurizio Zerbo


Il genio creativo di Mary Lou Williams nell'era dello swing costituisce la punta di diamante della creatività jazzistica femminile, la cui storia è tutta da riscrivere. La presunta mancanza di forza fisica, abilità strumentale, senso dello swing fu alla base sello scetticismo della comunità jazzistica nei confronti delle donne, relegate al ruolo di vocalist in brani ...

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Article: Album Review

Chris Pattishall: Zodiac

Read "Zodiac" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


This is pianist Chris Pattishall's take on Mary Lou Williams' “Zodiac Suite," an extended work that has been unjustly overlooked in jazz history. Williams originally recorded this suite in solo and trio format but Pattishall rearranges it for his quintet and adds subtle sound design touches by Rafiq Bhatia that enrich the depth and context of ...

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Article: Radio

New Releases Plus A Special Birthday Shoutout For A Broad Spectrum

Read "New Releases Plus A Special Birthday Shoutout For A Broad Spectrum" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


Happy fifth birthday to A Broad Spectrum! Nice to celebrate a milestone after almost a year of remote broadcasting but better times are coming. Music remains a healing force. This broadcast includes new releases from Roseanna Vitro, Out To Dinner, Peter Eldridge, Charles McPherson, Georgia Mancio & Alan Broadbent and Idit Shner with birthday shout outs ...

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Article: Album Review

Cecil Taylor & Tony Oxley: ...Being Astral And All Registers - Power Of Two...

Read "...Being Astral And All Registers - Power Of Two..." reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The late free jazz icon Cecil Taylor was thought to have only recorded two duo albums in his career. One was Embraced (Pablo, 1977) with Mary Lou Williams, the other, Historic Concerts (Soul Note, 1984) with Max Roach. Both were underwhelming mismatches, with Taylor overpowering his partners. In 2020, drummer Tony Oxley found two live Taylor-Oxley ...

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Article: Radio

Mirna Bogdanović, Pino Palladino, Chris Pattishall, Miguel Zenón & New Releases

Read "Mirna Bogdanović, Pino Palladino, Chris Pattishall, Miguel Zenón & New Releases" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu


The future of the jazz is in good hands as you'll hear from the emerging artists featured on this show, ranging in style from Chris Pattishall's stunning modern take on Mary Lou Williams' “Zodiac Suite" to the eclectic first album by Slovenian singer Mirna Bogdanovic. Bass veteran Pino Palladino has a different 'first': his debut album ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Guitar Gods & Goddesses: An Alternative Top Ten Albums

Read "Guitar Gods & Goddesses: An Alternative Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Although it has been present in jazz since the 1920s, when it was routinely used in rhythm sections, as a solo instrument the guitar struggled to make itself heard--literally--until the second half of the 1930s, when reliable pick-ups and portable amplifiers became available. Foremost among the pioneers of the electrified instrument was Charlie Christian, a member ...

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Article: Album Review

Frank Carlberg/Gabriel Bolaños: Charity and Love

Read "Charity and Love" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


While Frank Carlberg certainly rises to great heights in large-group settings, some of the pianist's most absorbing and thought-provoking work has been built around the intimacy of the duo. Whether we're talking about intrigue-laced meetings with fellow Finn (and drumming great) Klaus Suonsaari, a ballad set featuring tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger, some two-piano play with Ran ...


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