Linda Dahl is one of the gifted biographers who can analyze her subject and put it into fascinating detail that will appeal to a large reading audience. Linda Dahl succeeds brilliantly in her biography of jazz great Mary Lou Williams in MORNING GLORY. This is a book that is a joy to read, and there is a feast of detail that will entertain readers.
Mary Lou Williams was gifted in many ways, and in ways that during the time she was growing up were considered out of the ordinary. That Mary Lou Williams had psychic abilities is discussed in the biography, and the influence on her early years. Like Ethel Waters and Billie Holiday, she was considered one of the great black female musicians of her era. She was encouraged by fellow musicians rather than her family, a family that was indifferent to her. Mary Lou Williams believed that jazz was created for all people everywhere.
Mary Lou Williams was also born with the ability to play by ear, and she could play any song she heard. If a song was sung or played, she could repeat it note for note on the first playing.
During the 1920s as she started her piano and composing career, she had a rough go of it. Beaten often as a child, she also suffered beatings from her musician lovers when they were drunk. The beatings of childhood carried over in a different fashion into her adult years. But it did not hinder her great talent.
As Linda Dahl points out, in fact it is a thread running throughout the biography and a fine one, Mary Lou Williams believed in her music and she believed in jazz, and it kept her strong and flexible.
Dahls biography is well-written. MORNING GLORY comes alive with its large body of characters who move through the story with an energy that makes them leap out of the page with texture and realness! There is a selective discography and a detailed section of notes and sources. The index is nicely arranged.
The photographs are excellent references to Mary Lou Williams and her friends and the times in which they lived. Her comeback in music is another interesting aspect of this biography.
I would highly recommend this nonfiction study to any person wanting to know more about the life and times of pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams and the musicians of her era. This is a big book with a lot of information that will keep the reader interested.
Congratulations to author Linda Dahl for a well-crafted and enjoyable biography. Excellent.'Linda Dahl is a gifted biographer, and her writing of the biography of Mary Lou Williams is right on target, accurate, and fascinating! Readers will love this biography of jazz great Mary Lou Williams in MORNING GLORY.