· Jazz at Lincoln Center Hosts Jazz Talk: Walkin’ and Swingin’: Mary Lou Williams MAY 4
New York, NY (April 15, 2004) Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (LCJO) celebrates the music of Mary Lou Williams – one of the most important female jazz musicians to emerge in the first three decades of jazz - with two very special performances. On Thursday, May 13 & Friday, May 14, the world-renowned LCJO will present The Music of Mary Lou Williams - an interpretation of Ms. Williams’ more exploratory work. Her multi-dimensional artistry will be celebrated in these events in May – the same month of her birth (May 8, 1910) and death (May 28, 1981).
Pianist Mulgrew Miller and former Williams collaborators, vocalists Andy Bey and Carline Ray, will join the Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) resident orchestra to perform the compelling masterworks that Ms. Williams wrote for large ensemble. This concert is sponsored by Cadillac.
Tickets for The Music of Mary Lou Williams, performed by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, priced at $55, $65 and $75, are available at the Alice Tully Hall box office, by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500, or via www.jalc.org.
In addition to the concerts, JALC hosts Jazz Talk: Walkin’ and Swingin’: Mary Lou Williams on May 4. Ms. Williams has been called “the history of jazz” as she lived and played through all eras of the genre: ragtime, blues, Kansas City Swing, bop and modern. This installment of Jazz Talk will examine her outstanding career. Moderated by Dan Morgenstern, Director of the Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers, the talk will feature Ms. Wililams’ great friend and former manager Father Peter O’Brien, biographer Dr. Tammy Kernodle and pianist Mulgrew Miller as they discuss Ms. Williams’ diverse musical collaborations with Andy Kirk, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Cecil Taylor and others.
Jazz Talk: Walkin’ and Swingin’: Mary Lou Williams will take place at Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at 7 PM. Tickets, priced at $15, are available at the Alice Tully Hall box office, by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500, or via www.jazzatlincolncenter.org.
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, she would have been considered a major artist no matter what her gender. Born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs (although she soon took the name of her stepfather and was known as Mary Lou Burley), she taught herself the piano by ear and was playing in public at the age of six. In 1925, she went on the road with a revue, and the following year ended up marrying the show's bandleader John 'Bearcat' Williams. Their careers were inextricably intertwined in a series of show and territory bands, and then in the Clouds of Joy, led by Andy Kirk, for whom Ms. Williams became arranger and pianist. Her arrangements were largely responsible for the band's distinctive sound and eventual success. When she left Kirk in the early 1940s, she began leading a band with her new husband, trumpeter Shorty Baker. When he joined Duke Ellington, Ms. Williams ended up writing and arranging for Duke's band (most notably her rearrangement of Blue Skies" into a horn battle called Trumpets No End"), but before long was leading her own groups at Cafe Society in New York. She became something of a fixture there, and as well as working with a broad cross section of players from swing era giants like Benny Goodman to bebop pioneers such as Kenny Clarke, she made many discs of her own. Ms. Williams lived in Europe from 1952-1954 and retired from music for a few years after appearing as a guest with Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival. She wrote three masses and a cantana, was a star at Benny Goodman's 40th-anniversary Carnegie Hall concert in 1978, taught at Duke University, and often planned her later concerts as a history of jazz recital. By the time she passed away at the age of 71, she had a list of accomplishments that could have filled three lifetimes.
Jazz at Lincoln Center is a not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to jazz. With the world-renowned Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, and a comprehensive array of guest artists, Jazz at Lincoln Center advances a unique vision for the continued development of the art of jazz by producing a year-round schedule of performance, education, and broadcast events for audiences of all ages. These productions include concerts, national and international tours, residencies, weekly national radio and television programs, recordings, publications, an annual high school jazz band competition and festival, a band director academy, a jazz appreciation curriculum for children, advanced training through the Juilliard Institute for Jazz Studies, music publishing, children’s concerts, lectures, adult education courses, film programs, and student and educator workshops. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis and President & CEO Hughlyn F. Fierce, Jazz at Lincoln Center will produce hundreds of events during its 2003-04 season. Currently, Jazz at Lincoln Center is building its new home – Frederick P. Rose Hall – the first-ever performance, education, and broadcast facility devoted to jazz, will open in October 2004.
LISTING INFORMATION – Jazz Talk Producer: Jazz at Lincoln Center Date/Time: Tuesday, May 4; 7pm Event: Jazz Talk Walkin’ and Swingin’: Mary Lou Williams Featuring Director of the Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers, Dan Morgenstern; Ms. Williams’ former manager, Father Peter O’Brien; biographer Dr. Tammy Kernodle Place: Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, 65th Street and Broadway, 10th Floor Tickets: $15 available at the Alice Tully Hall box office, by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721- 6500, or via www.jalc.org.
LISTING INFORMATION – The Music of Mary Lou Williams: Producer: Jazz at Lincoln Center Event: The Music of Mary Lou Williams Featuring The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Special Guests Pianist Mulgrew Miller and vocalists Andy Bey and Carline Ray Date/Time: Thursday, May 13 & Friday, May 14 at 8 PM Place: Alice Tully Hall, 65th Street and Broadway Tickets: $55, $65 and $75 available at the Alice Tully Hall box office, by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721- 6500, or via www.jalc.org. Sponsor: Sponsored by Cadillac.