Selected Mary Lou Williams
R E C O R D I N G S & R E A D I N G S

1970s/1960s 1950s/1940s 1930s/1920s  MLW's Music  Readings



Collection at IJS

Early Roots

Kansas City & the Clouds of Joy

Modern Jazz & Cafe Society

William Gottlieb Photo Essay, 1947

Europe & Travels in the 50's

Chuck Stewart Photo Essay, 1957

Religious Conversion

Lioness in Winter

Selected Recordings & Readings

This 1998 Chiaroscuro reissue of Nite Life, originally dating from 1971, contains over 30 minutes of Mary Lou Williams reminiscing about her early days as a traveling musician.

This inscribed photograph of "Mr. and Mrs. Swing," a.k.a. singer Mildred Bailey and her husband, master vibraphonist Kenneth "Red" Norvo, call attention to recordings Williams made with Bailey in 1939 that are to be re-released later in 2000 by Mosaic Records as part of a set honoring the singer.

The artist David Stone Martin, a one-time paramour and longtime friend of Mary Lou Williams, created this cover for the original Asch Records release of her unique 1944 trio recordings with bassist Al Hall and trumpeter Bill Coleman.
This photograph made during the recording of Williams' Zoning album in 1974 catches her in the revelry of making music. In his notes for the 1995 reissue for Smithsonian/Folkways, Bob Blumenthal wrote, "Zoning's appearance served as both a revelation and a reaffirmation of what had always made Williams unique. She was still stretching the boundaries, with harmonic, rhythmic and formal notations that bordered on the avant-garde; yet her ear for melody and her deep immersion in the blues idiom remained."
Mary Lou Williams' Music and Arrangements Recorded by Other Musicians
VIC DICKENSON: BREAKS, BLUES AND BOOGIES (Pearl Flapper 1065). The veteran Basie trombonist plays Williams' "Gjon Mili Jam Session" among 21 selections recorded between 1941-1946.

(RCA 63603, 2000). This album constituting of trumpeter Dave Douglas' tribute to Mary Lou Williams was named Down Beat's Album of the Year in August 2000. Douglas reinterprets "Aries" from The Zodiac Suite, ""Waltz Boogie," "Mary's Idea," and "Play It Mama," in addition to 9 originals that evoke her spirit.

THE DUKE ELLINGTON: CARNEGIE HALL CONCERTS DECEMBER 1944(PRESTIGE 2 PCD-24073-2).Concert features William's original arrangement for Duke Ellington on "Blue Skies".

DUKE ELLINGTON: CARNEGIE HALL, 11/13/48 (Vintage Jazz Classics 1024).
Among the 30 songs captured in this live Ellington date is Williams' famous arrangement of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies," renamed "Trumpets No End." Among the Ellingtonians appearing at Carnegie Hall that night in November 1948 was her estranged husband.

ELLA SWINGS LIGHTLY (Verve 51735). Ella Fitzgerald sings "What's Your Story, Morning Glory?" in the reissue of a 1958 album of 20 songs.

(Bluebird [ or RCA ] 66258, 1995).
Bebop guiding light confirms Williams' modernism in the forites with his 1949 recording of "In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee," one of 43 recordings between 1937-1949

THE INDISPENSABLE BENNY GOODMAN, 1936-1937 (RCA 66470). This Goodman reissue containing 32 of his recordings from the mid-thirties contain two of Williams' arrangements of her compositions, "Roll 'Em" and "Camel Hop."

BENNY GOODMAN: THE JAZZ COLLECTOR EDITION (Laserlight 15762, 1992) This Goodman quartet featuring Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa tackles "Lonely Moments" in a retrospective of 14 recordings.

BENNY GOODMAN: ROLL'EM LIVE, 1941 Two extended versions of "Roll 'Em" appear among 20 live recordings cut between July and October 1941.

HONI GORDON SINGS (Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-1783-2, 1992)Two extended versions of "Roll 'Em" appear among 20 live recordings cut between July and October 1941.

THE CHRONOLOGICAL EDMOND HALL, 1944-1945 (Classics 872, 1996).
The clarinet player offers his rendition of "Lonely Moments" in this retrospective of recordings from the mid-forties.


Compiled by REV. PETER F. O'BRIEN, S.J.
Executive Director of Mary Lou Williams Foundation
(Dragon 183). The 1948 live recordings from the Click in Philadelphia, including Williams' "Mary's Idea," feature most of the existing airchecks of the clarinet player with Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson and Wardell Gray. (Hasselgärd was killed in an automobile accident later that year.)

JOHN HICKS:IMPRESSIONS OF MARY LOU WILLIAMS (High Note HCD 7046,2000).Pianist John Hicks, whom Williams took under her wing early in his career, plays tribute with seven of Williams' compositions from Music for Peace, Zodiac Suite, Mary Lou's mass and Zoning. He plays five compositions of his own written with Williams in mind.

Bert Stern's dramatic back-lit photo of Mary Lou Williams in the 1950s was selected as the cover of Linda Dahl new biography, Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams.

ANITA O'DAY, 1956-1962

(Giants of Jazz 53145, 1998). The singer performs "What's Your Story, Morning Glory?" in an album of jazz standards.


(Jazz Alliance 10230, 1996). McPartland and her guest play "What's Your Story, Morning Glory?"

MARIAN McPARTLAND PLAYS THE MUSIC OF MARY LOU WILLIAMS (Concord Jazz 4605, 1994). McPartland, joined by bassist Bill Douglass and drummer Omar Clay, plays 14 Williams compositions.

JAMES WILLIAMS MAGICAL TRIO: AWESOME! (DIW 623, 2000). The souful pianist tips his hat to Williams' "Lonely Moments" on an album of great American composers.

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