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Mary Lou Williams

Mary Lou Williams (1910 1981) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger[?]. She was born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a very young child she taught herself to play the piano (her first public performance was at the age of six). She became a professional musician in her teens.

In 1930, she joined Andy Kirk[?]'s Twelve Clouds of Joy[?], of which her husband John Williams[?] was already a member, and became the band's leading soloist, composer, and arranger. In 1942 she formed her own group with her second husband Harold Baker[?] and then worked briefly with Duke Ellington before working as a solo act into the 1970s, incorporating modern ideas into her playing. She also taught at Duke University.

Her compositions include Benny Goodman's hit "Roll 'Em".



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