Jazz pianist and composer Mary Louise Knutson has played alongside some of the genre's biggest names, in addition to pursuing a solo career on her own by the early 21st century. Over the years, the Minneapolis, MN-based musician has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves, Smokey Robinson, the Osmond Brothers, and Engelbert Humperdinck, among others, and during the '90s, was a member of the group Synergy (formerly Rupert's Orchestra). Knutson has also penned songs for other artists as well, including Prince's horn section, the Hornheads (for their 5 Heads Are Better Than 1 release), while her music was used in the documentary Wellington Lee: 60 Years of Artistic Photography. 2001 saw Knutson issue her very first solo disc, Call Me When You Get There, via her own record label, Meridian Jazz. The album (which featured additional contributions from bassist Gordon Johnson and drummer Marc Anderson) earned the pianist/composer many accolades, including a "Top New Instrumentalist of the Year" award from KWJL in Palmdale, CA, while a pair of songs ("How Will I Know?" and "Meridian") earned her awards from Billboard magazine. Additionally, Knutson teaches jazz piano and improvisation at Carleton College in Northfield, MN.
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