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Our First Lady of Jazz: Celebrating Mary Lou Williams

The Duke Chapel Choir joins forces with a host of guest artists to present "Our First Lady of Jazz," a concert blending vocal jazz, gospel, spirituals, and the blues in a celebration of Black sacred music, featuring the works of Mary Lou Williams.

Williams was a composer and jazz pianist who taught at Duke University, and occasionally performed in the Chapel and with the Chapel Choir. She wrote for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, and mentored artists such as Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk. Her works are an "encyclopedia of black music" (Newsweek) that fuse religious themes with the idioms of jazz. The program will include excerpts from Williams's albums Music for Peace (Mary Lou's Mass) and Black Christ of the Andes, as well as works by Duke Ellington and Robert Ray.

Tickets will be sold through the Duke Box Office at tickets.duke.edu.

Music to be performed includes:

* "Music for Peace" by Mary Lou Williams

* "Black Christ of the Andes" by Williams

* "Come Sunday" by Duke Ellington

* "Gospel Mass" by Robert Ray

The program is presented as part of Duke University's centennial celebration, in partnership with Duke Arts and the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.