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Mary Lou Williams

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Mary Lou Williams, 1930s   Mary Lou Williams, 1944
Mary Lou Williams

1910 - 1981
Mary Lou Williams, 1953  Mary Lou Williams, 1965  Mary Lou Williams, 1979
Mary Lou Williams is perpetually contemporary. Her writing and performing are and have always been just a little ahead throughout her career.... her music retains—and maintains—a standard of quality that is timeless. She is like soul on soul.
—Duke Ellington, Music is my Mistress (p.169)

I was blessed with the opportunity to study with Mary Lou Williams from September 1979 into March 1980 when she was teaching at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. Learning from one of the 20th century’s most inspired musicians haqs been one of life’s greatest gifts. Not well-known to the general public, she was a “musician’s musician”. She worked with and was known and loved by a large majority of the people who created the unique U.S. art form called jazz, or as Duke more accurately put it in his autobiography:

“You probably heard of the word ‘jazz’. It’s all right if that is the way you understand or prefer it. We stopped using the word in 1943, and we much prefer to call it the American Idiom, or the Music of Freedom of Expression.”
Music is My Mistress (p.309)
Sources
Reflections of my time with Mary Lou Williams

Herein is presented a collection of material celebrating this quintessential Giant of Jazz.


History Of Jazz
by
Mary Lou Williams
1979
Sources