29 July 2007

Hello, Mary Lou

Attention students of Kansas City (and every other kind of) jazz:

National Public Radio's Jazz Profiles has produced a fine portrait of Mary Lou Williams, "the Lady who Swings the Band." Williams is a key figure in the history of jazz, having been schooled by Jelly Roll Morton and later having schooled Thelonius Monk.

Starting with Andy Kirk's Twelve Clouds of Joy, she was influential in developing the Kansas City sound. In addition to being a fine pianist with an amazing left hand, she was also a composer with a visionary sense of what jazz music could become.

If you care about jazz, you ought to know more about Mary Lou.

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