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

MLW Poster-SMALL_HiRes

Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band

Saturday, November 21st – 2:00 PM

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood

7101 Hamilton Ave., PGH, 15208

Doors Open at 1:00 PM

Suggested Donation:  $2     Refreshments Available


Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band

Release:  February 2015                Country:  USA/Europe

Length:  75 Minutes                        Language:  English





2015 Pan African Film Festival Programmer’s Award for Documentary


Official Selections

2015 Rwanda International Film Festival

2015 Kansas City Film Fest


Official Website:

Official Trailer:


Produced and Directed by Carol Bash

Editor:  Sandra Christie

Co-Producer:  Stacey Holman

Executive Producer:  Stanley Nelson

Cinematography:  Robert Shepard James Richards and Michael Chin



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.