Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams was active in her career from the 1920s to the 1980s, and was one of the key developers of the musical ideals of those eras. She helped shape jazz, blues, and rock and roll, producing more than 100 records in her lifetime. Dubbed the matriarch of jazz, she wrote and composed songs for Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman, and even mentored Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell. She was the composer behind most of their hits in the 1930s, and was one of the first women to establish her own record label.