Vol. 5    No. 19
September 23, 2010

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000

Subscription Information:
The Capital City Hues
PO Box 259712
Madison, WI 53725
($45 a year)
Contact Number:
(608) 241-2000
Advertising: Claire G. Mendoza


Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual, Jessica Pharm,
Laura Salinger, Jessica Strong, &
Martinez White

Heidi @
    Something pretty unique will be happening September 30 – October 3 right here in Madison. A
celebration of national scope will be held as the Mary Lou Williams Fall Festival Weekend gets underway.
Mary Lou Williams is an unheralded jazz giant who created an enormous legacy in jazz during her 50 plus
year career.
     So you never heard of Mary Lou? You have heard of Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Charlie
Parker, haven’t you? Well Mary Lou Williams mentored these jazz greats during the dawning of their
careers, giving them encouragement and advice when few others gave them the light of day.
Ever hear of Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman? Well Mary Lou Williams created a lot of arrangements for
their big bands that still resonate today.
     And we haven’t mentioned the vast collection of music that Mary Lou composed over her distinguished
career that spanned just about every era of jazz including swing and Bebop. Listen to her music and you
may probably feel like you heard it before. And maybe you have. It’s just that someone else was probably
playing it.
     Mary Lou Williams remained in the background in a male dominated field. Well Madison is trying to give
her due in this the centennial year of her birth by hosting arguably one of the finest and comprehensive Mary
Lou Williams commemorations in the country. Except for a Saturday night concert at the Overture Center, all
of the events are free and open to the public.
     On Friday night, October 1 at 7:30 p.m., Father Peter O’Brien, who managed Mary Lou for the last 15
years of her career, will present a 50-year, multimedia retrospective on her career at St. Paul’s University
Catholic Center, 723 State Street. Father O’Brien is the executive director of the Mary Lou Williams
Foundation and is the leading authority on her music. It is sure to be an informative and entertaining evening
and did I mention that it is free?
     Saturday’s festivities kick off with Reflecting on Mary Lou Williams, Envisioning the Future of Jazz:  A
Symposium at the UW Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, beginning at 10 a.m. Mary Lou Williams biographer
Tammy Kernodle will keynote the symposium and two stellar panels of authors and musicologists will
discuss Mary Lou Williams’ contributions to jazz and explore the future of jazz. This free symposium will
enrich us and serve as the foundation for future discussions of these issues on a national level.
     On Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., the Mary Lou Williams@100: A Retrospective Concert will liven the night
at the Overture Center. Internationally acclaimed jazz artists Geri Allen on piano and Carmen Lundy on
vocals headline a stellar group of musicians as the perform Mary Lou Williams’ Zodiac Suite and other
classics. While an admission is charged, the cost is reasonable. This will be Carmen Lundy’s debut
performance in Madison. Just Google their names and watch their clips on YouTube. Oh my, they are so
     On Sunday, October 3 at 8 a.m., Geri Allen, Carmen Lundy, George Shirley — an incredible operatic tenor
— and a local chorus directed by our own Leotha Stanley will perform Mary Lou’s Mass at Mt. Zion Baptist
Church on Fisher Street. This approximately one-hour performance is a unique blend of jazz and blues in a
spiritual composition.
     And the festival ends with a book presentation and signing by Tammy Kernodle and a performance by
Hanah Jon Taylor at the Harambee Center in the Villager Mall starting at 11:30 a.m.
I hope that you will turn out for these events October 1 – 3, a nationally significant event that is happening in
our own backyard. Come out and enrich your mind and your musical ear and show some support for these
wonderful performers and scholars. I hope to see you there!
     I just have to give a shout-out to St. Paul AME Church, which celebrated its 108th anniversary last
Sunday. Area Black churches and liturgical groups came out for the celebration and entertained as they
gave praise and thanks for the many years that St. Paul’s has served the community. There aren’t too many
institutions around in Madison that can claim the longevity that St. Paul’s can. It is a testament to its
leadership and congregation that it still stands strong today. Congratulations Str. Paul’s!
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                     Mary Lou & St. Paul AME