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Mary Lou Williams

Mary Lou Williams (May 8, 1910 – May 28, 1981) was an American jazz pianist, arranger, and composer. She wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements and recorded more than one hundred records. Williams wrote and arranged for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, and she was friend, mentor and teacher to numerous other jazz musicians. The second of eleven children, she was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A musical prodigy, she taught herself to play the piano at the age of three. This photograph of Williams at the piano was taken by William P. Gottlieb around 1946.

Photograph credit: William P. Gottlieb; restored by Adam Cuerden

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