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When young Mary Lou played the violence stopped

Child prodigy went on to become a leading pioneer of jazz.

Having helped the swing bands excel, Mary Lou did the same for the new beboppers, with pianists Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk hanging around her house for hours, soaking up knowledge and, in Monk’s case, specific ideas. She composed In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee (a bebop hit with which Paul McCartney was presumably familiar) for Dizzy Gillespie, and was a sounding board for the revolutionary concepts of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.

Much of Williams’ setting of the Mass is exceptional.

Her own playing assimilated bebop, while its gospel, blues and swing foundation made it timeless. ”I experiment to keep up with…

John Shand

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