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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: My Favourite Things

Mary Ancheta e il Questionario di Proust

Read "Mary Ancheta e il Questionario di Proust" reviewed by Paolo Peviani

Il tratto principale della mia musica Credo che ogni canzone abbia una corrente trainante sotterranea, che sia all'interno di un tema, di una progressione o di un ritmo. Cerco di dare una musicalità alle mie canzoni. Anche se la melodia è un po' spigolosa, voglio comunque che abbia un senso per le orecchie e ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

George Coleman, David Larsen, Mary Lou Williams & Cecilia Smith

Read "George Coleman, David Larsen, Mary Lou Williams & Cecilia Smith" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We begin the 804th episode with a vibraphonist Cecilia Smith and music from the Mary Lou Williams Resurgence Project. From there, we hear from Mary Lou Williams herself with a live recording from 1936. Throughout this episode, we hear new music from George Coleman, Ben Rosenblum, Walter Smith III and Snarky Puppy. In between, we go ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

A Celebration of Music By Mary Lou Williams - A Formidable Jazz Mother On Many Fronts

Read "A Celebration of Music By Mary Lou Williams - A Formidable Jazz Mother On Many Fronts" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

This broadcast celebrates Mothers Day featuring music by Mary Lou Williams in the first hour (a formidable Jazz Mother on so many fronts). In the second hour, more music by jazz mothers Geri Allen, Allison Miller, Chris McNulty and more, with new releases from the Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band plus singles from Ann Hampton Callaway ...


Article: Interview

Ahmad Jamal: Forward Momentum

Read "Ahmad Jamal: Forward Momentum" reviewed by Ian Patterson

In memory of the venerable Ahmad Jamal. This article was first published on All About Jazz on July 6, 2010. Ahmad Jamal, possibly the most influential of living jazz pianists, turned 80 years young on July 2, 2010. It is however, business as usual and instead of celebrating at home in his slippers, Jamal ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Wayne Shorter, Vince Mendoza, Lonnie McFadden & Kristin Korb

Read "Wayne Shorter, Vince Mendoza, Lonnie McFadden & Kristin Korb" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We kick off a new 795th Episode of Neon Jazz with a powerful Denmark-based, American-born bassist and singer in Kristin Korb with material created during the COVID era. From there we hear from vocalist Diane Schuur, who was one of the first real experiences Kristin had in live jazz. We also celebrate a handful of esteemed ...


Article: Profile

Mary Lou Williams: Into the Zone of Music

Read "Mary Lou Williams: Into the Zone of Music" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

Few musicians have embraced the entire history of jazz like Mary Lou Williams, and at the same time shaped its development compositionally and instrumentally. She brought jazz into contact with classical music and played spiritual jazz before it became hip, but she was also a treasured teacher and mentor. Mary Lou Williams was born ...


News: Performance / Tour

We'll Meet Again—American Jazz Standards with Jaimee Paul and Leif Shires at John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts on February 4, 2023

We'll Meet Again—American Jazz Standards with Jaimee Paul and Leif Shires at John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts on February 4, 2023

Join the Pan American Symphony Orchestra for an evening of American jazz nostalgia with Nashville sensation, Jaimee Paul, singing favorites of the 1940’s such as the wartime hit, “We'll Meet Again." The performance will also feature selections from a swinging orchestral work, the “Zodiac Suite," by Mary Lou Williams, the talented, prolific African-American jazz composer, pianist, ...


Article: Year in Review

2022: The Year in Jazz

Read "2022: The Year in Jazz" reviewed by Ken Franckling

Current events impacted the jazz world in significant ways throughout 2022. In its third year, the coronavirus pandemic continued to lurk in some settings, while others recovered in robust fashion. Russia's war on Ukraine was felt by musicians and triggered an outpouring of support for its victims. Initiatives to ensure greater equity in jazz advanced. The ...

Article: Album Review

Dave Douglas: Songs Of Ascent Book 1 — Degrees

Read "Songs Of Ascent Book 1 — Degrees" reviewed by Giuseppe Segala

La curiosità di Dave Douglas verso l'esplorazione, la scoperta, lo stimolo intellettivo, non si placa. Si focalizza, con inesauribile attenzione, su progetti sempre diversi. Così la sua musica, che poggia sempre su un motivo di ispirazione forte: di carattere musicale, poetico, artistico e spirituale in senso ampio. Tra gli altri, Mary Lou Williams, Wayne Shorter, Booker ...


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