This post is a placeholder. We follow a process of: 1) draft, 2) review, 3) rewrite and publish and 4) review after 3,6,9 weeks and update. As we are rebuilding the website; the idea is to use our first 10 posts to publicly share where we are going and what we are working on.
Mary Lou Williams is an important and often overlooked link in the story of Jazz.
She was one of the first women to take the stage and own the spotlight. Her compositions and arrangements remain fresh and modern even today. She was more than a performer; she was the tireless supporter for those carrying jazz forward.
She was likely responsible for the discovery of Charlie Christian and set in motion the events that placed him and that new(ish) electric guitar on the largest stage for jazz at that time; Benny Goodman’s small groups. Charlie’s recordings set into motion a new and expanding thread for jazz. The jazz guitarist precedes the electric bluesmen, the screaming rockers, and the speedy metal players. Charlie is the source but he was sick and passed at the age of 25 in 1942. Before passing, he left a legacy for those to follow and was part of the formative architects of Bop.
Mary Lou Williams was self-taught and says that she was a watcher. She was extremely observant and seemed to grasp the essence of what connects us all together. There are many names for this essence, she considered it the spirit. She loved jazz and aimed at technical prowess combined with the spiritual healing from the blues.
The piece will focus on her history, spirituality and legacy which we are embracing just now.
Thanks for waiting … Mark