Williams, Mary Lou

The music of Mary Lou Williams is a rich tapestry spanning seventy years of sounds and styles of American music. A pioneer in so many ways, it is with great honor and pleasure that Jazz Lines Publications has made an exclusive agreement with the Mary Lou Williams Foundation to make her music available to be studied, played and enjoyed.

Born Mary Alfrieda Scruggs in Atlanta, Mary Lou showed talent at the piano from a very early age. Her family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when she was five, and by the age of eight, she was already known in the neighborhood for her piano skills. She was already on the road with a tent show by the age of thirteen. The leader of the band, saxophonist John Williams, would be become her husband when Mary was only sixteen.

Williams joined the band of T. Holder, but he was fired by his sidemen over money issues, and the band was taken over by bassist Andy Kirk. Headquartered at Kansas City, the Kirk band would be Mary Lou's musical home for many years. Not only did she play piano (for many years, Kirk's was the only major big band with a woman instrumentalist), she became Kirk's musical director, and such titles as Marys Idea, Walkin' and Swingin', Scratchin' the Gravel, and The Lady Who Swings the Band are considered big band classics.

Mary Lou left Kirk in May of 1942, and traveled with her husband, trumpeter Shorty Baker, who was a member of Duke Ellington's band. She composed and arranged quite a few pieces for Ellington, including an arrangement of 'Blue Skies' that was recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival, though introduced by Ellington as 'Trumpets No End.' Settling in to New York, she continued to arranged and compose for the top bands of the era while playing piano at Barney Josephson's two night clubs, Café Society Uptown and Downtown. Josephson even helped her get her own radio show on WNEW. During this period of major changes in jazz called bebop, her apartment became a salon for the leaders of the movement, including Dizzy Gillespie, Tadd Dameron, Bud Powell, and particularly Thelonious Monk, whose own creativity blossomed under her influence and encouragement.

She was also experimenting and discovering, on her own and with Milton Orent, bassist and composer whose own music was quite advanced for its time. With help from Orent, one of her most important compositions was presented during this period, The Zodiac Suite. First presented at Town Hall on December 31, 1945, the performance was privately recorded. Three movements were performed with the Carnegie Pops Orchestra, and Mary Lou arranged parts of it for Dizzy Gillespie's 1957 appearance with his big band at the Newport Jazz Festival.

She began performing in Europe in 1952 and lived there from 1953-4. But by this time, Williams grew despondent over her careers lack of direction, fewer opportunities to play piano and write, and the alcohol and drugs permeating the jazz world. She turned to religion for a new direction, and converted to Catholicism. She was baptized on May 7, 1957.

The rest of her life was devoted to raising money for musicians in need, and performing and composing jazz and religious music. In this she was assisted by a fan named Peter O'Brien, who was a Jesuit priest. He became her spiritual adviser and business manager, and oversees the Mary Lou Williams Foundation today. Mary Lou's career soared; she became a professor of music at Duke University in 1980, and was the recipient of awards, celebrations and honorary doctorates. She passed away on May 28, 1981.

BIG JIM BLUES

AS PERFORMED BY ANDY KIRK

ARRANGED BY MARY LOU WILLIAMS

JAZZ BIG BAND ARRANGEMENT

EJEM01003

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CAMEL HOP

Recorded by Benny Goodman

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8792

$65.00

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CHUNKA LUNKA

Performed by Mary Lou Williams

Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Prepared by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8780

$50.00

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IN THE LAND OF OO-BLA-DEE

Recorded by Dizzy Gillespie

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Big Band Arrangement with Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8785

$65.00

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JUMP CAPRICE

Written for Benny Goodman

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8820

$65.00

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LONELY MOMENTS

WRITTEN FOR DUKE ELLINGTON

COMPOSED AND ARRANGED BY MARY LOU WILLIAMS, EDITED BY JEFFREY SULTANOF

JAZZ BIG BAND ARRANGEMENT

JLP-8776

$75.00

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MARY'S IDEA (1930)

Recorded by Andy Kirk

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Little Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8787

$50.00

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MARY'S IDEA (1938)

Recorded by Andy Kirk

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8786

$65.00

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MELLOW BIT OF RHYTHM, A

Recorded by Andy Kirk

Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof and Rob DuBoff

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8794

$65.00

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MESSA STOMP [AKA MESS A STOMP - 1929 VERSION]

RECORDED BY ANDY KIRK

COMPOSED AND ARRANGED BY MARY LOU WILLIAMS, EDITED BY JEFFREY SULTANOF

JAZZ SMALL GROUP ARRANGEMENT [6 HORNS WITH RHYTHM SECTION]

JLP-8779

$50.00

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NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS

ARRANGED BY MARY LOU WILLIAMS

JAZZ BIG BAND ARRANGEMENT

00-33384

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O.W.

Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8790

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ROLL 'EM

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

00-33385

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SCORPIO

Written for Duke Ellington

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Prepared by Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8775

$75.00

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WALKIN' AND SWINGIN'

ARRANGED BY MARY LOU WILLIAMS

JAZZ BIG BAND ARRANGEMENT

00-33386

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WHAT'S YOUR STORY, MORNING GLORY?

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Big Band Arrangement with Vocal (or Reed feature)

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8873

$65.00

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WHISTLE BLUES

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams and Milton Orent, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8889

$65.00

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ZODIAC SUITE [COMPLETE SCORE]

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Prepared for Publication by Jeffrey Sultanof

Studio Ensemble Arrangement [See Instrumentation]

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8835S

$100.00

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ZODIAC SUITE [SCORE AND PARTS]

Composed and Arranged by Mary Lou Williams, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof

Studio Ensemble Arrangement [See Instrumentation]

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8835

$399.00

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