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Williams, Joseph.

English music printers and publishers. The firm was established in London in 1808 by Lucy Williams, a music and copperplate printer who printed some works for Clementi & Co. She was presumably a relative of John Williams, a music printer active in the 1780s at Fountain Court, Cheapside, since this was also her first address. In 1843 she took her son Joseph William Williams (1819–83) into the firm, which was known as Lucy Williams & Son until the following year, after which Joseph continued in his own name. He was succeeded in 1883 by his son, Joseph Benjamin Williams (1847–1923), who, under the pseudonym of Florian Pascal, also composed some 200 songs, piano pieces, cantatas, comic operas and operettas. He in turn was succeeded by his eldest son, Florian Williams (1879–1973), for some time helped by his brother Ralph Williams (1881–1948). A family company, Joseph Williams Ltd, was formed in 1900; from 1930 they were joined by Montagu Normington Williams (1911–42). In July 1961Augener took over the business but continued to operate the firm separately until May 1962, when Galliard Ltd was formed; this in turn was taken over by Stainer & Bell, in whose catalogue Joseph Williams's works now appear.

The firm published almost every kind of work, with particular emphasis on light opera and ballads. The acquisition of the British rights of Robert Planquette's highly successful operetta Les cloches de Corneville in 1877 laid the foundations of the firm's fortunes. The serious side of the firm's catalogue included works by Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Bax, Bantock, Ireland and others, and they were concerned in the publication of G.E.P. Arkwright's Old English Edition (1889–1902) of Elizabethan and Jacobean music. They also had a strong interest in educational music, and published books of music for various examining bodies.



C.G. Mortimer: ‘Leading Music Publishers: the House of Joseph Williams’, MO, lxii (1938–9), 1092–3

F. Williams: ‘After Forty Years: Recollections of a Music Publisher’, MO, lxiii (1939–40), 235ff; lxiv (1940–41), 41ff

J.A. Parkinson: Victorian Music Publishers: an Annotated List (Warren, MI, 1990)


Williams, Martin (Tudor Hansford)

(b Richmond, VA, 9 Aug 1924; d Alexandria, VA, 11 or 12 April 1992). American music critic and writer on jazz. He studied English literature at the University of Virginia (BA 1948), the University of Pennsylvania (MA 1950) and Columbia University. He was director of the jazz and American culture programmes in the division of performing arts of the Smithsonian Institution from 1970 until early 1983, when he became editor of special projects in books and recordings at the Smithsonian Press. He selected and annotated recordings for the Smithsonian collections of Classic Jazz and (with Gunther Schuller) Big Band Jazz. In addition to jazz criticism for the Saturday Review, Evergreen Review, Jazz Journal, the New York Times, Down Beat and various other journals, Williams wrote several books.


ed.: The Art of Jazz: Essays on the Nature and Development of Jazz (New York, 1959/R)

King Oliver (London, 1960)

ed.: Jazz Panorama (New York, 1962/R)

Jelly Roll Morton (London, 1962)

Where’s the Melody? A Listener’s Introduction to Jazz (New York, 1966/R, 2/1969)

Jazz Masters of New Orleans (New York, 1967/R)

Jazz Masters in Transition, 1957–69 (New York, 1970/R)

The Jazz Tradition (New York, 1970, 3/1993)

Jazz Heritage (New York, 1985) [collection of previously pubd articles]


Williams, Mary Lou [née Scruggs, Mary Elfrieda]

(b Atlanta, GA, 8 May 1910; d Durham, NC, 28 May 1981). American jazz pianist and composer. She grew up in Pittsburgh, where she played professionally from a very early age; taking her stepfather's name, she performed as Mary Lou Burley. In 1925 she joined a group led by John Williams, whom she married. When in 1929 Andy Kirk took over Terrence Holder's band, of which John was a member, Mary Lou served the group as deputy pianist and arranger until 1931, at which time she became a regular member. The fame of Kirk's band in the 1930s was due largely to Williams's distinctive arrangements, compositions and solo performances on the piano; she also provided noteworthy swing-band scores for Benny Goodman, Earl Hines, Tommy Dorsey and others. After leaving Kirk in 1942 Williams formed her own small group in New York, with her second husband, Shorty Baker, as trumpeter. She briefly served as staff arranger for Duke Ellington, writing for him the well-known Trumpets No End in 1946. In the same year three movements from the Zodiac Suite were performed at Carnegie Hall by the New York PO, a very early instance of the recognition of jazz by a leading symphony orchestra.

By now Williams had become an important figure in New York bop, contributing scores to Dizzy Gillespie's big band and advancing the careers of many younger musicians. She was based in Europe from 1952 to 1954, when she retired from music to pursue religious and charitable interests. However, she resumed her career in 1957 and remained active throughout the 1960s and 70s, leading her own groups in New York clubs, composing sacred works for jazz orchestra and voices and devoting much of her time to teaching. In 1970, as a solo pianist, and providing her own commentary, she recorded The History of Jazz (FW). Towards the end of her life she received a number of honorary doctorates from American universities, and from 1977 taught on the staff of Duke University.

Williams was long regarded as the only significant female musician in jazz, both as an instrumentalist and as a composer, but her achievement is remarkable by any standards. She was an important swing pianist, with a lightly rocking, legato manner based on subtly varied stride and boogie-woogie bass patterns. Yet by constantly exploring and extending her style she retained the status of a modernist for most of her career. She adapted easily in the 1940s to the new bop idiom, and in the 1960s her playing attained a level of complexity and dissonance that rivalled avant-garde jazz pianism of the time, but without losing an underlying blues feeling. A similar breadth may be seen in her work as a composer and arranger, from her expert swing-band scores for Kirk (Walkin' and Swingin', 1936, Decca; Mary's Idea, 1938, Decca) to the large-scale sacred works of the 1960s and 1970s. Her Waltz Boogie (1946, Vic.) was one of the earliest attempts to adapt jazz to non-duple metres. Among her sacred works are a cantata, Black Christ of the Andes (1963, Saba), and three masses, of which the third, Mary Lou's Mass (1970, Mary), was commissioned by the Vatican and became well known in a version choreographed by Alvin Ailey.


(selective list)

Sacred: St Martin de Porres (Black Christ of the Andes) (A. Woods), SSATTBB, pf, 1962 [arr. vv, jazz trio, 1965]; Mass, chorus, pf, 1963; The Devil, chorus, pf, c1963; Mary Lou's Mass (Music for Peace), 1969 [rev. 1971; arr. children's chorus, 1975; various other arrs.]

Big band scores: Cloudy, 1929; Froggy Bottom, 1929; Messa Stomp, 1929; Walkin' and Swingin', 1936; Little Joe from Chicago, 1936–8 [collab. H. Wells]; Mary's Idea, 1936–8; Roll 'em, 1937; Trumpets No End, 1946 [from Berlin: Blue Skies]

Jazz charts: Zodiac Suite, 1945; In the Land of Ooo-bla-dee, c1945 [collab. M. Orient]; Waltz Boogie, 1946; Perdido, c1957; I love him, 1957; A Fungus Amungus, 1963; Blues for Peter, 1965; Medi I, c1974; Medi II, c1974; Play it momma, c1974; Praise the Lord, c1974

Pf: 5 Pf Solos, 1941; 6 Original Boogie Woogie Pf Solos, 1944

Principal publishers: Leeds and Robins, Cecelia Publishing Co.


M. Jones: ‘Mary Lou Williams: a Life Story’, Melody Maker (3 April–12 June 1954); repr. in M. Jones: Talking Jazz (London, 1987), 178–207

M. McPartland: ‘Mary Lou’, Down Beat, xxiv/21 (1957), 12, 41

M. McPartland: ‘Into the Sun: an Affectionate Sketch of Mary Lou Williams’, Down Beat, xxxi/24 (1964), 16–17, 36; repr. in All in Good Time (New York, 1987), 69–78 [incl. postscript, 89–90]

A. McCarthy: Big Band Jazz (New York, 1974), 242

W. Balliett: ‘Out Here Again’, Improvising: Sixteen Jazz Musicians and their Art (New York, 1977), 59–80

D.A. Handy: ‘First Lady of the Jazz Keyboard’, BPM, viii (1980), 195–214

E. Townley: ‘An Interview with Mary Lou’, Mississippi Rag, vii/3 (1979–80), 4

S. Britt: ‘The First Lady of Jazz: Mary Lou Williams’, Jazz Journal International, xxxiv/9 (1981), 10–12 [interview]

L. Lyons: ‘Mary Lou Williams’, The Great Jazz Pianists: Speaking of their Lives and Music (New York, 1983), 67–74

L.D. Holmes and J.W. Thomson: Jazz Greats: Getting Better with Age (New York, 1986) [collection of interviews]

G. Schuller: The Swing Era: the Development of Jazz, 1930–1945 (New York, 1989)

Oral history material in US-NH, GBLnsa, US-NEij


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