Mary Lou Williams

Mary Lou Williams

Boundary breaking jazz composer, arranger, and pianist.

Founded

May 8, 1910 in Atlanta, Georgia

Full Name

Mary Elfrieda Scruggs

Date of Birth

May 8, 1910 in Atlanta, Georgia

Still Alive

Date of Death

May 28, 1981 in Durham, North Carolina

Influenced By

Lovie Austin, Duke Ellington

 Dizzy Gillespie, Mary Lou Williams, Tadd Dameron, Hank Jones, Milt Orent, Dixie Bailey, and Jack Teagarden, Mary Lou Williams's apartment, New York City, circa 1947
Dizzy Gillespie, Mary Lou Williams, Tadd Dameron, Hank Jones, Milt Orent, Dixie Bailey, and Jack Teagarden, Mary Lou Williams's apartment, New York City, circa 1947

About The artist

"To say that Mary Lou Williams had a long and productive career is an understatement. Although for decades she was often called jazz's greatest female musician (and one has to admire what must have been a nonstop battle against sexism), she would have been considered a major artist no matter what her sex.

"Just the fact that Williams and Duke Ellington were virtually the only stride pianists to modernize their style through the years would have been enough to guarantee her a place in jazz history books. Williams managed to always sound modern during a half-century career without forgetting her roots or how to play in the older styles."
Scott Yanow, Allmusic.com

Did you know...

Mary Lou Williams was a full time working musician at the age of 15.

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