Mary Lou Williams only spent a dozen years in Kansas City during its first jazz heyday, but this is where she solidified her professional reputation, gaining the respect of leaders in the field. “Mary Lou Williams is increasingly ranked as one of the most significant and influential composers to have ever made Kansas City their home base,” says Dan Cameron, artistic director of Open Spaces . Among the ten-week festival's opening-weekend events is a free performance of Williams’ “Zodiac Suite” by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra in Swope Park.
Kansas City's first biennial Open Spaces launches this week. And, like the metropolitan area itself, Open Spaces is sprawling. It stretches 62 days, from August 25 to October 28, with more than 150 performing and visual artists.