The Mary Lou Williams Foundation, Inc.

  • NJ


Jersey City

United States

About Us

PURPOSE: The Mary Lou Williams Foundation is organized to extend the life story and the musical legacy of Mary Lou Williams, and to advance the public knowledge of the Art Form of Jazz by teaching and exposing the same, in all its forms, to the public, with some emphasis on children and young adults, individually or in groups, enabling them to perform before audiences, or giving them the opportunity to hear Jazz in concert, on recordings, and in studio performances.


ARCHIVAL PRESERVATION: The Mary Lou Williams Foundation Collection carries the archive from the date of Ms. Williams' death to the present. This collection contains transcribed musical works composed by Mary Lou Williams which are performance ready. These include: Big Band and Small Group scores and parts; Choral Works including Mary Lou's Mass; Zodiac Suite for Chamber Orchestra; and some Piano Works. This collection also posesses the complete catalog of CDs relating to the recorded music of Mary Lou Williams. Correspondence and ephemera fill out the story.


PERFORMANCE OF ORIGINAL MUSIC: The music of Mary Lou Williams has also been brought into the present in several ways.

The Mary Lou Williams Collective (with Geri Allen), The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, and Dave Douglas have all recorded full length tributes. The United States Army Field Band/Jazz Ambassadors plans a recording of 15 of Ms. Williams' works later this year. This will be available to schools, teachers, and libraries without charge.

Concert presentations of Ms. Williams' Big Band works have been given by The American Jazz Orchestra, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, The Smithsonian Masterworks Jazz Orchestra, The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Concert performances of "Mary Lou's Mass" have taken place at The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. with Marian McPartland and Carmen Lundy under the direction of David Baker. Cleo Parker Robinson created new choreography to this Mass for her Dance Company in Denver, Colorado with Geri Allen at the piano and with Ms. Lundy.