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Folkways to Reissue Williams’ Black Christ

On May 25, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings will release Mary Lou Williams Presents: Black Christ of the Andes, a musical commentary on the African-American experience and a call to the divine by one of the most important pianists and composers in jazz. The album, originally released in 1964 on Williams’ own Mary label, will include four bonus tracks.

Williams (pictured), who became a devout Catholic in the mid-1950s, was a master of boogie-woogie, stride, swing, and be-bop. “[Williams] sums up in herself the full essence of jazz,” Duke Ellington once said.

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