Morning Glory : A Biography of Mary Lou Williams (Paperback)

Author: Dahl, Linda

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Product Overview

Mary Lou Williams -- pianist, arranger, composer, and probably the most influential woman in the history of jazz -- receives the attention she has long deserved in this definitive biography.


Publisher Univ of California Pr
Mfg Part# 9780520228726
SKU 30704102
Format Paperback
ISBN10 0520228723
Release Date 4/10/2007
Dimensions (in Inches) 8.75H x 5.75L x 1.25T
"As Dahl sees it, Williams learned early to live in her head. The dark-skinned 5-year-old discovered both intrablack and black-white racism when her family moved from Atlanta to Pittsburgh. Her mother was a party-girl drunk with a slew of children who raised themselves; the family would often teeter on the brink of starvation. When a friend of her stepfather was teaching the 12-year-old Mary Lou to drive, he tried to rape her....At its best, MORNING GLORY pulses with that sort of vignette. Dahl, who previously wrote STORMY WEATHER does not put Williams in a straitjacket of psychopathology or feminism. Instead, she keeps her sense of historical context sharp and probes rather than labels her subject's teeming contradictions."
From the Publisher
Annotation In this jazz history, music authority Linda Dahl tracks the life and career of pianist Mary Lou Williams. The engaging narrative illuminates Williams' devotion to spirituality and her determination to succeed. Despite Williams' impoverished homelife and indifferent parents, she taught herself how to read and write music and pursued public performances when she was a child. Dahl also reveals Williams' relationships with other legendary musicians, such as Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie.
Excerpt Like Waters and Holiday, she had to earn her own livelihood while still a child, and became a woman before she was ready. Also like them, Mary succeeded against forbidding odds. Yet no matter how much she accomplished, she could not crack the carapace of her parents' fundamental indifference to the fact of her existence. It was musicians, not family, who nurtured her talent, who shared her life of poor-boy sandwiches, broken-down cars and rooming houses, the many stretches with no pay. But more than anything else, it was Mary's own innate vision of possibilities, her tremendous grit and empathy, that molded her musical gift. That and later her religious faith kept her going through many hard years--what she called the "muck and the mud" of American show business.
First Line Mary Lou Williams's childhood, like that of Ethel Waters and Billie Holiday, two other great black female musicians of her era, was rough and short.
Editors Note Mary Lou Williams--pianist, arranger, composer, and probably the most influential woman in the history of jazz--receives the attention she has long deserved in this definitive biography.
Product Attributes
Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 0471
Publisher University of California Press
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