Mary Lou Williams

Music on My Mind

A film by Joanne Burke

1990 | 60 minutes | Color | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 99293

SYNOPSIS

Pioneering Black American composer-arranger-pianist Mary Lou Williams is one of the most remarkable figures in the history of jazz. In this authoritative film, lively interviews with Williams, Dizzy Gillepsie and Buddy Tate interweave the musical and personal elements of her dramatic life. At the height of her career, she dropped out of music to help drug-addicted musicians in Harlem, making a triumphant comeback fifteen years later. A spirited tribute to Williams’ indelible contribution to American culture, narrated by Roberta Flack.

PRESS

"Excellent. Enlightening, inspiring and, above all, entertaining. Succeeds because it lets so much of the subject's personality shine through."

Booklist

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • American Film and Video Festival, Finalist
  • Nat'l Educational Film and Video Festival
  • Sydney Film Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Joanne Burke

Joanne Burke is a documentary film and video producer with long years of top-level experience. She has directed nine documentaries, including an hour-length film on jazz great Mary Lou Williams, MUSIC ON MY MIND (1990), broadcast on PBS, CBS, LaSept/Arte and other European channels.

She produced and directed a series of half-hour video documentaries entitled NEW DIRECTIONS on innovative women in developing countries. WOMEN OF ZIMBABWE was completed in 1996, WOMEN OF THAILAND in 1998, WOMEN OF GUATEMALA in 2000, and SPEAKING OUT: WOMEN, AIDS, AND HOPE IN MALI in 2002. She has also produced two short documentaries on the history of Americans in France during the First World War, THE LAFAYETTE ESCADRILLE (1995) and ANNE MORGAN: AN AMERICAN IN FRANCE (1997). Joanne Burke has edited more than twenty long-form documentaries for CBS, NBC and PBS, many of them winners of major awards, such as Tom Spain's multiple Emmy-winning ANY PLACE BUT HERE and Harry Morgan's FATHERS AND SONS for CBS News. She has also edited three feature films for Sidney Lumet, including THE ANDERSON TAPES with Sean Connery, and co-edited GIMME SHELTER, the Maysles Brothers and Charlotte Zwerin's documentary feature on the Rolling Stones. She also taught film editing for five years at NYU and eight years at the School For Visual Arts.

Her latest production is a compilation of six short documentaries, WHEN AFRICANS AMERICANS CAME TO PARIS, released in 2012. She is now working on PARIS NOIR, AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE CITY OF LIGHT, an hour-length documentary about African American writers, artists, jazz musicians, and Josephine Baker in France in the period from 1918 to 1940. All the films of the Paris years have been independently produced in partnership with her writer/cameraman husband David Burke. (03/19)

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