Celebrating Mary Lou Williams – An Evening of Live Performance and Film

Mary Lou Williams was a giant of jazz and of jazz piano playing. Her lifetime and playing styles spanned several sub-genres. As Duke Ellington said, “She was perpetually contemporary”. She began playing professionally when boogie and stride piano were the jazz styles of the day and she continued to evolve her playing ahead of each new sub-genre of jazz that developed in the 20th century. Thus we can turn to Mary Lou’s music, her compositions and playing, to hear the history of jazz in the 20th century.

Pianist and composer Ann Reynolds and Filmmaker Kay D. Ray are putting together a show Celebrating Mary Lou Williams An Evening of Live Performance and Film, using her compositions and favorite pieces performed by NW musicians. The live performances will be interspersed with archival film interview clips and rare performance footage of Mary Lou Williams to tell the story.

These musicians and filmmakers include:

  • Pianist/Composer Ann Reynolds
  • Filmmaker Kay D. Ray
  • Pianist/Conductor Kent Stevenson
  • Pianist/Composer Nelda Swiggett
  • Pianist Alex Guilbert
  • Bassist/Music Impresario Terry Morgan
  • Drummer/Conductor Maria Wulf
  • Bassist Heather Chriscaden
  • Flute and Trombone Freddy Fuego Gonzalez
  • Tenor Saxophonist Jason Turner
  • Film Editor Susan Merrill


Photo: Portrait of Mary Lou Williams, New York, N.Y. ca. 1946 by William P. Gottlieb/

Artwork: Julie Sevilla Drake, Bear Falls Apart, 2020. Courtesy of the Artist.


Nov 1, 2023
7:00pm – 9:00pm


Frank Buxton Auditorium



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