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Movie” Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band

Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band
Thursday, May 11th

City of Asylum @ Alphabet City
40 West North Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15212

Free but you must RSVP

WINNER
2015 HBO AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY

2015 SAATCHI & SAATCHI AWARD FOR BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM
2015 Pan African Film Festival Programmer’s Award for Documentary

Official Website:       Official Trailer:

MLW & Andy Kirk Band photo credit Frank Driggs Collection

Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band
Release:  February 2015                  Country:  USA/Europe

Length:  75 Minutes              Language:  English
Produced and Directed by Carol Bash
Synopsis (Courtesy of Paradox Films)

Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band is a story of tragedy and triumph seen through the eyes of a prodigy. We journey the 20th century through the lens of one of its leading jazz musicians who is determined to create in a world that could not see past her race or gender.

 

Mary Lou Williams was ahead of her time, a genius. During an era when jazz was the nation’s popular music, she was one of its greatest innovators. As both a pianist and composer, she was a wellspring of daring and creativity who helped shape the sound of 20th century America.  And like the dynamic, turbulent nation in which she lived, Williams seemed to re-define herself with every passing decade. From child prodigy to “Boogie-Woogie Queen” to groundbreaking composer to mentoring some of the greatest musicians of all time, Mary Lou Williams never ceased to astound those who heard her play. But away from the piano, Williams was a woman in a “man’s world,” a black person in a “whites only” society, an ambitious artist who dared to be different and struggled against the imperatives of being a “star.” Above all, she did not fit the (still) prevailing notions of where genius comes from or what it looks like. Time and again, she pushed back against a world that said, “You can’t” and said, “I can.” It nearly cost her everything.