TALKIN’ JAZZ SERIES—WEEK 2: Mary Lou Williams, The Lady Who Swings the Band

Led by April Grier

In partnership with Jazz Arts Project

Monday, Apr 15 at 7:00 PM | FREE EVENT

To celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month, we are partnering with Jazz Arts Project to host their Talkin’ Jazz Series. Focused on Women in Jazz, this series will feature a weekly talk and Q&A panel moderated by Jazz Arts Artistic Director, Joe Muccioli with guest speakers who are Jazz luminaries and Scholars. This Free community event is a great introduction to jazz for novices or a wonderful extension of knowledge for connoisseurs. Join 1, 2, 3 or all 4 weeks!

Mary Lou Williams was always far 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 font 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 redefine 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 who struggled against the imperative of being a “star.”

April D. Grier holds a M.A. in Jazz Studies from the Georgia State University, and a M.A. in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers-Newark. In addition to teaching at Rutgers University and Newark School of the arts, she is the Reference Coordinator at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark and has produced and hosted several radio programs for WBGA Jazz 88.3 FM. As the owner of Magenta Jazz Management, a Jazz talent/booking agency, April is deeply committed to enriching communities through the arts and empowering performing artists economically.


Jazz Arts Project is a non-profit, 301(c) 3, professional presenting organization which produces 25 to 30 events each year from intimate Jazz cafe nights through large scale events at concert halls such as the Count Basie Theatre, as well as educational workshops and special programs for youth. As part of a founding philosophy, the “Project” believes that the Jazz arts are a valuable national treasure to be nurtured and preserved.