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NYC Concerts to Celebrate Mary Lou Williams

There’s a love-fest going on in the jazz community these days for late pianist-composer Mary Lou Williams (pictured), whose recently reissued Black Christ of the Andes we wrote about on Tuesday. Two upcoming concerts in New York City-the first by the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, the second by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra-plus a jazz talk, will celebrate Williams’ music. Here’s some info on the concerts:

The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, led by Victor L. Goines, artistic director of Juilliard Jazz, will present “What’s Your Story?: The Music of Mary Lou Williams” on Wed., Apr. 28 at 8 p.m. in the Juilliard Theater. The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra is comprised of students from both the music school’s Institute for Jazz Studies and bachelor of music degree program in jazz studies. The tickets are free but must be reserved through the Juilliard Box Office located at 60 Lincoln Center Plaza in Manhattan. The box office is open Mon.-Fri. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call the Juilliard Box Office at (212) 769-7406.

The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (LCJO), with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will celebrate Williams and her music with two performances at Alice Tully Hall in Manhattan in mid-May that will feature interpretations of Williams’ more exploratory works for large a ensemble. Special guest vocalists Andy Bey and Carline Ray, plus guest pianist Mulgrew Miller will join the LCJO for both shows, which take place Thurs., May 13 and Fri., May 14. Showtime for both concerts is 8 p.m. Tickets are $55, $65 and $75, and are available at the Alice Tully Hall box office, located at 65th Street and Broadway, or by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500, or via

In addition to the concerts, JALC will host “Jazz Talk: Walkin’ and Swingin’: Mary Lou Williams” on May 4 at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse. Williams has been called “the history of jazz,” as she lived and played through all eras of the genre: ragtime, blues, Kansas City Swing, bop and modern. Williams’ friend and former manager Father Peter O’Brien, biographer Dr. Tammy Kernodle and pianist Miller will discuss Williams’ diverse musical collaborations with Andy Kirk, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Cecil Taylor and others. The talk starts at 7 p.m. and will be moderated by Dan Morgenstern, Director of the Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers. Tickets are $15 and available at the Alice Tully Hall box office, by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500, or via

Originally Published