Jazz Portraits U-Z

Marion Williams

In 1982 a record company I helped found, Hammond Music Enterprises, released an exceptional album by the noted gospel singer, Marion Williams. Since we were poor and couldn’t hire anyone else, I took the photograph for the album cover in Columbus Circle, a few blocks from our 57th Street office. Marion wasn’t a jazz singer, far from it, but since sanctified music and the blues is the basis for much of what is now known as jazz, it is altogether appropriate she be included along with jazz and blues artists. A few years later, Marion was included as part of the Floating Jazz Festival as often as her health permitted and in 1993, along with such luminaries as Johnny Carson and Stephen Sondheim was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, probably the only honoree who sported a gold tooth with a carved star. She wasn’t as well known as Mahalia Jackson, but was almost as good.