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Introduction

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

Discography & Related Links


Williams poses in front of her home in Durham at 1205 Shepherd St. on her way to class. Although Williams maintained her apartment in New York, the home in Durham, which she purchased at age 67, was the first house she'd ever owned.


Williams shops for antiques in Durham in the spring of 1980. The photo appeared in a May 1980 feature in People Magazine that focused on her work at Duke. "She's irreplaceable," Duke President Terry Sanford told the magazine. Photo by Tom Walters


Williams conducts the Duke University Jazz Orchestra in the spring of 1978 in a program of her own compositions. So popular were Williams and her two classes that the People Magazine feature reported that the sale of jazz albums in the area went up by about 40 percent after her arrival.


Williams was one of the honored guests at the White House Festival in 1978 honoring George Wein and the 25th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival. First Lady Rosalynn Carter reportedly ran across the South Lawn to have her picture taken with Williams, who played solo piano after that.


Mary Lou Williams visits with ailing bassist and composer Charles Mingus at the White House Jazz Festival in 1978. Williams' original response to an engraved invitation to the event was to ask why should she go and sit around at some party. Some party! ©Tom Copi


Williams joins pianist John Lewis of Modern Jazz Quartet fame following a duet concert in July 1978 at the Grand Parade du Jazz in Nice, France. This photograph by Williams' manager, Fr. Peter O'Brien, S.J., was taken the same month as her solo piano recital at the Montreux Jazz Festival, later released on Pablo Records.


Williams accepts the Atlanta NAACP Grand Jubilee Award from chapter President Julian Bond during a Freedom Fund Dinner held on October 19, 1978. The citation notes that Williams's "extraordinary talents have enhanced the world of music and greatly enriched our culture."


Williams playfully mugs in a coin-operated photo booth en route by bus from a performance with the Jazz Giants (Williams had replaced Thelonious Monk on the tour) at the Masonic Theater in San Francisco to a Hollywood Bowl concert in the late 1970s. At the Bowl, the Jazz Giants took part in a concert featuring Billy Eckstine. A friend from her Paris days, writer James Baldwin, came to her dressing room before the show to talk and stood in the wings throughout the concert.


Though ill with cancer, Williams kept up a busy performance schedule in her last year, such as when she played at a packed concert at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, Carolina in the summer of 1980. "Just listening to her doesn't even hint that she's 70," wrote one reviewer of a concert that concluded with a performance by Sarah Vaughan. ©Patrick Hinely


Mary Lou Williams in Lincoln, Nebraska for the 1980 taping of a broadcast for Nebraska Educational Television that aired after her death, entitled Swingin' the Blues.


Even her worsening illness, which caused her nearly constant pain in her last months, did not deter Williams from carrying out her teaching. In this 1980 photo, Williams encourages one of her students from her bed at Duke University Hospital in Durham.


Mary Lou Williams at The Cookery in 1972. © K. Abe
 
 
Home

Introduction

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

Discography & Related Links


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