Mary Louise Knutson

Born: April 19, 1966    Primary Instrument: Piano

Mary Louise Knutson

Minneapolis-based pianist and composer, Mary Louise Knutson, has been called “one of the most exciting and innovative artists to happen to jazz piano in quite some time.” Her warm, inviting tone, broad range of emotional expression, and distinctive compositions have brought her much recognition on the national music scene.

Knutson's long-awaited new jazz trio CD, In the Bubble, ranked in JazzWeek's Top 10 and remained on the chart for 19 weeks straight. Six standards and four originals - which range from a swinging Oscar Peterson Trio-style “It Could Happen to You” to a smooth jazz version of “You Don’t Know What Love Is” to a gospel style “You Are My Sunshine” - complete this highly accessible mainstream-to-modern collection. The Mary Louise Knutson Trio was recently featured on the Twin Cities' KARE 11 Today Show. Watch the video here:
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Awards for In the Bubble CD: Top 10 on the national JazzWeek chart; 19 weeks straight on the national JazzWeek chart; Favorite CDs of 2011 (Andrea Canter,; Twin Cities Critics Tally 2011: Top 10 Local Albums (Pamela Espeland, Star Tribune); Top 10 Twin Cities Jazz CDs of 2011 (Pamela Espeland,; Minnesota's Best 2011 Releases (Andrea Swensson, Twin Cities' City Pages); Top CDs of 2011 (Dave May, Desert Island Jazz, WHFC 91.1 FM - Bel Air, MD); Top CDs of 2011 (Chris Cooke, Jazz in the Afternoon, KIOS 91.5 FM - Omaha Public Radio); 2006 Jazz Artist of the Year, Minnesota Music Award Nomination; 2006 Pianist of the Year, Minnesota Music Award Nomination; 2005 Top 5 Finalist, Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams 'Women in Jazz' Pianist Competition; 2004 Lawrence University's Nathan M. Pusey Alumni Achievement Award (for significant contributions and achievements in a career field); 2001 Top New Jazz Instrumentalist, KWJL Radio, California
”This is timeless, classic piano trio music, right up there with Bill Evans and Bill Charlap.”- Pamela Espeland, Twin Cities Critics Tally 2011: Top 10 Albums, Star Tribune,

“Swinging and wonderful...In the Bubble is my pleasant surprise of the day. I love it.” - Judy Carmichael - Radio host, Judy Carmichael's Jazz Inspired, NYC

“Polished, accomplished and always in the pocket...tasty throughout, this is a goodie not to be missed.” - Chris Spector, Midwest Record Review

“...a masterful combination of original works and new arrangements...Knutson's compositions are marked by exquisite melodies, emotive harmonies, shifting rhythms and an elegant touch that recalls McPartland, Arriale, and Jarrett.” - Andrea Canter,

As a Leader

In the Bubble
Meridian Jazz
Personnel: Mary Louise Knutson: piano; Gordy Johnson: bass; Phil Hey: drums; Greg Schutte: drums; Craig Hara: drums As a Leader

Call Me When You Get There
Meridian Jazz
Personnel: Mary Louise Knutson: piano; Gordy Johnson: bass; Phil Hey: drums; Marc Rio: drums; Craig Hara: drums; Marc Anderson: percussion

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Primary Instrument:

Minneapolis, MN

Willing to teach:

Private instruction for all levels of Jazz Piano, Composition, Arranging, Theory. Evenings. South Minneapolis studio. Knutson is a former instructor in jazz piano and improvisation at Carleton College. She also conducts a variety of masterclasses, including Jazz Voicings and Scales: Freedom from the Written Page, which assists students in building jazz chords for solo and ensemble playing and outlines a starting point for improvisation. Her newest masterclass, Making Sense of Jazz, for non-musicians and/or budding enthusiasts, explores how jazz musicians communicate on stage, the typical structure of songs, and the use of improvisation.

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