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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Mroz, Leonard Andrzej

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Leonard Andrzej Mroz

Pianist, Band Leader, Composer, Music Publisher, Producer, A&R Director, Entrepreneur

Williams was born in Plaquemine Delta, Louisiana, in 1898, but his family moved to New Orleans in 1906. He ran away from home in 1910 to join a minstrel show, eventually returning to New Orleans and concentrating on piano studies. Although he took a few formal lessons, much of his tutelage came by listening to pianists like “Jelly Roll” Morton and Tony Jackson in the Storyville District. During this period he met Spencer Williams, with whom he would co-write his first big hits. He worked a variety of non-music jobs in the District, eventually being hired to run one of Storyville’s famous spots, Pete Lala’s Cafe, where a young lad named Louis Armstrong was playing his first important job. He continued to work music jobs and in 1914 met violinist/bandleader Armand Piron with whom he formed the first African-American music publishing firm in New Orleans the following year. Clarence lived in a highly-charged musical neighborhood in which resided future jazz stars Joe “King” Oliver, Edward “Kid” Ory, Johnny and Baby Dodds. He moved to Chicago in 1919 to open a branch of his publishing firm, but two years later he moved the company to New York and bought out Piron’s interest, renaming it the Clarence Williams Music Publishing Company.




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