Music: Pianist's Return

The couples drifting into the pink twilight of a Manhattan nightspot called The Composer last week heard a fine, familiar sound, saw a familiar figure softly spotlighted on the free-form bandstand. The woman with the flat-planed, Mayan-like face was Mary Lou Williams, at 47 still one of the finest jazz musicians who ever sat at a piano. For Mary Lou it marked the end of a three-year retreat from the jazz world.

In the summer of 1954, fresh from a triumphant solo swing about Europe, Mary Lou was playing to capacity crowds in a Paris jazz spot when, without warning, she walked...

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