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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


Detail from the program of the 1946 Carnegie Pop Concerts. Williams' June 22, 1946 appearance featured three movements from The Zodiac Suite-"Sagittarius," "Scorpio" and "Aquarius"-orchestrated for a 70-piece orchestra, plus an encore on "Boogie Woogie."


Mary Lou Williams in New York, c. 1946. ©William P. Gottlieb, From the Collection of the Library of Congress.


Detail from 1946 Disc Records catalogue illustrated by David Stone Martin. In a series of piano solos, Mary Lou Williams plays her own "Cloudy" and "Lonely Moments," in addition to standards of the day. "We have always admired Mary Lou Williams, not only as a great jazz artist, but as one of the most intelligent and sensitive artists in the entire field of contemporary jazz music," The Record Changer advised its readers.


Williams was the subject of an Al Hirschfeld drawing accompanying a 1947 article published in Seventeen magazine.


Williams at CBS Studios in New York, c. April 1947. ©William P. Gottlieb, From the Collection of the Library of Congress.


After recording her 1945 composition "Lonely Moments" for Disc as a piano solo in 1946, she produced arrangements for Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington in 1947, the year it was published as sheet music. The arrangement she did for Ellington clearly shows her as a modern and exploratory writer for big bands.


CBS Studio, New York, c. April 1947


"(In the Land of) Oo-Bla-Dee," Williams' best-known bop piece was written and published in 1949 and recorded that year for RCA Victor by the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band with vocalist Joe Carroll. Benny Goodman also recorded a version of the song that year with Buddy Greco on vocal and piano, and Wardell Gray and Doug Mettome on tenor saxophone and trumpet respectively


Flier for Williams' recording of her 1950 composition, "Walking Out the Door" for Circle Records. Benny Goodman recorded it first with Terry Gibbs on vibes and Teddy Wilson on piano, before Nat Cole had a minor hit with the song.


Literally caught walking out the door in this portrait by William Gottlieb in the late 1940s, Mary Lou Williams headed into new decade. The fifties were notable for the three years she spent in Europe and the religious conversion that would add a new dimension to her music. ©William P. Gottlieb, From the Collection of the Library of Congress.
 
 
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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