Mary Lou Williams
1910 - 1981
Mary Lou Williams moved from Atlanta to Pittsburgh with her family when she was about five years old and began playing jazz piano professionally while still in grade school. She learned her craft by watching musicians like Art Tatum, Lovie Austin, and Andy Kirk. She married John Williams, saxophone player in Kirk's band, and was a member herself from the 1920s to 1941. She then began her own highly successful band, and was an arranger for many other great band leaders. Her jazz compositions include sacred choral music, orchestra and chamber music, and many piano pieces. For further information, see HPC #09109.