In the Bubble CD

Made JazzWeek's Top 10 (12/21/11 - 1/16/12)
19 consecutive weeks in JazzWeek's Top 50
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

"Ranked in JazzWeek's Top 10, pianist Mary Louise Knutson's new trio CD, In the Bubble, showcases her warm soulful touch, tasteful arranging, and gift for composition. These ten will remain at the top of your playlist for years."

JAZZIZ Magazine

"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,

"...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,

" of the best area jazz releases of the past decade."

Andrea Canter,

"...beautifully realized..."

Stuart Kremsky, Cadence Jazz Magazine

"Her straight-ahead approach...spotlights her luminous work on the ivories, which is endearingly lyrical, sprightly, and rife with inventive nuances. She's been accurately compared to Bill Evans and Marian McPartland, with maybe the playful spirit of Vince Guaraldi thrown in."

Rick Mason, full review Critics' Picks, City Pages, Minneapolis-St. Paul

"For a nice close-your-eyes-and-melt-in-your-chair ballad, listen to Knutson's mellifluous version of Brandt & Haymes standard 'That's All'. Knutson's music is easy on the ears and should bring a smile to your face."

Brian S. Lunde, full review

"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, SiriusXM Satellite Radio - NPR Now - Channel 122, NYC

" exquisite listening experience."

Maria Miaoulis, full review

"Polished, accomplished and always in the pocket...tasty throughout, this is a goodie not to be missed."

Chris Spector, Midwest Record Review

"...a swinging affair, with moods that range from meditative to joyous, all buoyed by Knutson's warm, soulful touch."

Larry Englund, radio host, Rhythm and Grooves, KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis & 106.7 FM St. Paul, MN

"Jazz pianist Mary Louise Knutson is, so to speak, picture perfect. She paints gorgeous images in your mind of what it is to feel fresh, absolutely free and, no matter what kind of day or night you're having, at peace with life. If you don't have time for yoga, put her album In The Bubble on the box. It'll put you in the same space."

"...she has a subtle way of tickling the ivories that, in a word, tantalizes."

Dwight Hobbes, full review Twin Cities Daily Planet, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

"In The Bubble is a brilliant recording..."

Christopher Cooke, radio host, The Last Call, KIOS 91.5 FM, Omaha Public Radio

" ...the ten tracks on this one will remain up at the TOP of your jazz playlists for years."

Rotcod Zzaj, Zzaj Productions

"Exquisite instrumental excellent album..."

Joel Niemeyer, radio host, Minnesota Music Spotlight, KDUZ 1260 AM, Hutchinson, MN

"In The Bubble is so good! Swinging, tender, rich, soulful and bursting with originality. Brilliant arrangements give way to originals that are both mesmerizing and moving. And that intro to!"

Ron Fundingsland, award-winning artist and former KSUT, Ignacio, CO radio host

"...a musician you'd make a beeline to hear if you were visiting Minneapolis."

George Fendel, Jazzscene Magazine, Jazz Society of Oregon

"The new CD is great. We have each heard it 4-5 times, and it stays fresh and worth serious listening. I don't know how else to describe it, just that the experience is quite remarkable, in some ways almost transcendant. Some areas are so joyful that I get giggly...others are breathtakingly 'wow.' Congratulations!!"

Joe Messicci, Fan, Minneapolis, MN

"When the stresses of daily living accumulate...I can listen to your music, and it serves to re-connect all of the parts of my body and like yours is spiritual renewal!"

Fred Wester, Fan, Wausau, WI

“ is some of the most mindful jazz I have had the pleasure of listening to over the years. You draw the listener in with your so very smooth groove and make one want to listen deeply to the melody. Then you come through with the most captivating rhythms. I enjoy the fact that like a fine wine you make one want to savor every nuance of the entire musical experience. I am so happy that I found you on a Pandora mix. I now have a Mary Louise Knutson station on Pandora. Thank you for your wonderful artistry. You are a treasure to the world of music and I am happy to have found you.”

Chuck Wentz, Fan, Portland, OR

“I clicked on "Talk To Me" and let the music flow into the morning while preparing to get ready for work. Then it happened. As the music started, I felt something shift and I felt the anxiety about the day ahead begin to fade. As the music progressed, the anxiety was replaced by a palpable sense of not only peace, but a sense of well-being as well. That feeling lasted for over four hours - changed the entire tenor of the day - I can still feel it. Thank you for having the courage to keep intellectual, emotional and "spiritual" integrity in your music!”

Gary Albrigtson, Fan, Woodville, WI

“What a really cool song this is (In the Bubble). I bought it on iTunes and continued to let it quietly play in my pocket as I went in the grocery store one day. People were looking at me smiling. They found it difficult not to smile at me and feel the music. Much to be said about your music...thanks for generously sharing your beautiful gift with us.”

Tom Edwards, Fan, Alexandria, VA


Call Me When You Get There CD

"Call Me When You Get There is...state-of-the-art piano trio finery."


" excellent pianist whose voicings sometimes recall Bill Evans...she has a talent for coming up with fresh melodies. This is an impressive disc..."

Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene

"Mary Louise Knutson has to be one of the most exciting and innovative artists to happen to jazz piano in quite some time. She shows the smoothness and feeling of a Bill Evans (probably the best ever). Her compositions are excellent along with her playing. The performance of the group on the album is superb. Let's hope that this is just the first of many more efforts from this fine artist."

Fan review,

"Knutson is the same kind of rookie that Ichiro Suzuki is - a proven winner..."

Minneapolis Star Tribune

"There are always two CDs in my player, Bill Charlap's Written In the Stars and Mary Louise Knutson's Call Me When You Get There. They never miss."

Ron Fundingsland, KSUT Four Corners Public Radio - Ignacio, CO

"Knutson's CD is phenomenal...I'm all over this thing! It's just tremendous...I'm going to be on this very heavily!"

Ross Gentile, WSIE 88.7 FM - St. Louis, MO

"Mary Louise Knutson is somewhat reminiscent of Marian McPartland with her combination of strength and lyricism, line and texture, fresh reconceptions and exciting, beautiful original melodies. Piano Jazz is alive and well in Minnesota!"

Andrea Canter,

"I like Knutson's CD, very nice mood, cool arrangements, and I particularly like her original tunes."

Ben Sidran, GoJazz Recording Artist

"...five originals by Ms. Knutson, stellar pieces which lead me to hope she decides to pursue this course in her career..."

Kevin O'Connor, KBEM 88.5 FM - Minneapolis

"Another example that major labels don't have all the exceptional jazz talent."

Jim Clark, KUSD 89.7 FM - South Dakota Public Radio

“...highlighting her thoughtful and articulate piano work is the joyful lyricism of Call Me When You Get There...”

Arts Midwest Jazz Letter

"I got Call Me When You Get There from a friend at a time I really needed some cheer. This album was awesome. The phrasing is perfect, and unlike other jazz trios, there is no pretention to Ms. Knutson's work. I'm especially charmed by "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" -- making something fresh out of what could be a hackneyed standard. But the whole album is fresh, relaxing, and inspirational. If you love jazz piano - this is an amazing find....a treasure for any jazz collection."

Fan review,

"Listening to Knutson's signature piece is like eating chocolate mousse; smooth, rich and filling. Yumm."

Bob Friedman, Fan

“I always find it very heartening to listen to a CD with writing that makes both the mind and the soul.”

Anton Schwartz, Tenor Saxophonist, San Francisco Bay Area

Excerpt from a fan letter: “My iPod, with 3376 songs on it...each time yours comes 'round it stops me in my tracks. I honestly don't know what it is, but there's something about your playing so deeply from your heart...your music moves the soul.”

Anne Carroll, Fan

Excerpt from a fan letter: “I once almost wrote a whole book listening to your album on repeat. Strange but true. I love piano music and Call Me When You Get There landed on my all time top ten. Thanks for your artistic vision.”

Bob Tuff, Fan

Excerpt from a fan letter: “...listening to your music is, for me, like in "The Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy steps out of the house and everything is in color! Your playing is not only wonderful and fun to hear, but inspiring as well.”

Randall Hanson, Fan

“What a wonderful surprise! I was blown away! The depth of Ms. Knutson's voicings are only matched by the subtle, sultry melodies that sweep you away on a jazz journey. Where has this powerhouse been? Surely, she heralds in a new and better movement in modern jazz, with homages to the past (Tangerine) but also with energetic and exciting originals (Meridian) that focus on depth and form. She is a phenom that was totally unexpected when I opened the shrink-wrap. I am waiting for more recordings with baited breath. If Bill Evans and Marian McPartland had a kid (who took the best genes) it would be Mary Louise Knutson.”

Liz Woodworth, Fan at

“Her style and technique stands out like a pearl in a sea of common ivory pounders.”

Steve Artley, Fan

“How can a petite lady become such a colossus behind the keyboard?”

W Larry Keene, Fan


Praise from the presenter: “It was an absolute delight to have you and your fellow musicians with us on Thursday [opening for VP Walter Mondale]. You were a BIG hit with the audience, and I'd love to have all of you come back sometime during the next program year. Thank you again and again for providing such marvelous music for our Forum attendees! What a treat!”

Susan McKenna, Director, Westminster Town Hall Forum, Minneapolis

Praise from the presenter: “You left us in a rare state tonight. The three of you seemed incapable of doing anything that wasn't magnificent, astonishing and altogether delightful - what a great night!”

Jeff Whitmill, Director, St. Barnabas Center for the Arts, Jazz@StBarney's Series, Plymouth, MN

“We have had the best reviews ever from the public! Thank you for the show it was great!”

Tom Nigbor, The Park Theater, Hayward, WI

Praise from the presenter: “The audience was ecstatic about your solo performances as well as your collaborations...they were 'wowed' by your technical prowess as well as your engaging presentation style.”

Jan Viktora, “More Conversations about Jazz” series, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

Praise from the presenter: “Here it is Wednesday and we are still talking about how wonderful your concert was on Saturday. Thank You for sharing the poetry and joy of your music.”

Pastor James Disney, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minnetonka, MN

Praise from the presenter: “Music like yours is what makes the Center for the Arts a great place to be.”

Jim Urie, Manager, Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington, MN

Praise from the presenter: “Wausau is still a buzz with your performance and communicative ease on stage...”

Barbara Klofstad, Education Director, Wausau Grand Theater, Wausau, WI

Praise from the presenter: “I'm still buzzing from that world class performance Friday night. One mark of such a performance is that it appears so effortless.”

Louis Pradt, River Valley Jazz Festival, Wausau, WI

Excerpt from a fan letter: “What a superb concert in every respect. You are so warm and welcoming you make your audience feel like you are in their living room - plus I love it when you tell folks the background of the composers. Your spirit of generosity, humility and kindness shines through in everything you do.”

Madeleine Hart, Singer-songwriter, St. Paul, MN

Praise from the presenter: “It was a blow-out wonderful gig! A huge crowd, and remarkable performances by all three of the musicians. A real treat! ”

Jeff Whitmill, Director, St. Barnabas Center for the Arts, Jazz@StBarney's Series, Plymouth, MN

Excerpt from a fan letter: “For the two hours during your show, I experienced one of the most sense awakening and soothing occasions I believe I've had in my life. The music you and the two gentlemen provided truly allowed me to escape and find pleasure in a venue I didn't really think was possible. I had heard people speaking of music transporting them to another place before; now I can truly understand the possibility in that. You have created a fan now in the wonderful sound of jazz music.”

Blaine Maher, Shenandoah, IA

Excerpt from a fan letter: “I really do chuckle to myself when I listen to your colossal gift of music spilling out in gorgeous color upon the canvas of our minds and hearts!”

Torrey Hall, Concert Pianist, Minneapolis, MN

Excerpt from a fan letter (from an aspiring jazz pianist): “I am just overwhelmed by how fantastic your performance was. You completely inspired me. You gave me the motivation, and the inspiration I've been looking for. Thank you, I am going to work extremely hard to get into Jazz I (ensemble) next year, and I hope to be one of those outstanding soloists just for the opportunity to play alongside you next year.

Austin Falcon, Farmington Senior High School

Excerpt from a fan letter: “I was actually on my way up to the cabin when I heard on WI public radio that you were performing, so I got off the highway to hear you play. Sid and Ollie Kyler were big fans and talked about your talent often - so I knew I didn't want to miss a chance to hear you play. What a treat for Wausau to have you there. I'm a big fan now too and have played your CD incessantly from Wausau to Minocqua to Chicago.

Sherri Maxson, Chicago, IL

“As far as Ms. Knutson is concerned...she was fabulous and meeting her and hearing her melodic and right on target playing was one of the highlights of my time in Minneapolis.”

Nick Lagos, California

Excerpt from letter: “I tell everyone the story about having dinner with Simone and the rest of the band at the Dakota Jazz Club...I had to stop in mid-sentence and say Damn! Who is playing that piano?”

Cliff Starkey, Keyboardist for Simone (Nina Simone's daughter) and formerly the Emeril Live show

Excerpt from a fan letter: “Bravo! And congrats for your evening at the Dakota. My friends and I enjoyed the generosity and beauty that flows from your heart and your hands. Play on!”

James Schattauer, singer-songwriter, Minneapolis, MN

Excerpt from a fan letter: “I can't tell you how superb your performance was on Saturday night! I am now one of your biggest fans! Thank you so much for helping to make the evening so memorable!”

Linnea Larson, Center City, MN

Excerpt from a fan letter: “Your personal concert on Thursday was just the relief and release I needed after a trying week of caring for elderly parents. In the middle of the evening, I realized that I'd completely forgotten my woes - it was wonderful!”

Margaret Tabar, Minneapolis, MN


Regarding Making Sense of Jazz educational program: “Thank you for a remarkable program Saturday night! There's been an amazing amount of buzz (and for some reason, head-patting) going on here all week. We were beyond fortunate to have you with us, and I can't begin to tell you how much all present appreciated it!”

Jeff Whitmill, Director, St. Barnabas Center for the Arts, Masters of Music Series

Regarding Making Sense of Jazz educational program: “We got an 'A' on 'Making Sense of Jazz'. Thanks so much! Marketing does polls after events now and the feedback was very positive.”

Edward Vogel, Board Member, Minnesota Orchestra's Crescendo Project

Regarding Making Sense of Jazz educational program: “Great seminar last night Mary Louise...very informative and rocked!”

Mark Arneson, Producer, arranger, recording engineer, guitarist

Regarding Making Sense of Jazz educational program - private booking: “Wanted to thank you so much for a wonderful evening on Thursday! My mom kept telling me that it was the best gift ever and was going on about how great you are. You made it very special for all of us.”

Craig VanDerSchaegen, photographer, website developer, drummer

Regarding Freedom from the Written Page masterclass: “Thank you for the wonderful presentation! You gave us practical and unintimidating ideas for making first attempts to improvise with jazz harmonies.”

Rebecca Daws, St. Paul Piano Teachers Association

Regarding Freedom from the Written Page masterclass: “...your presentation was one of the best they (St. Paul Piano Teachers Association) ever saw!”

Anne Helfman, St. Paul Piano Teachers Association

Regarding Freedom from the Written Page masterclass: “Thanks for the inspiration and motivation. I've always loved jazz, but have usually felt like it was so out of reach and overwhelming to really approach. I appreciated the accessibility that you provided today for people who are interested but really didn't know a good way to get started!”

Becky Hanson, Association of Professional Piano Instructors


“For the first time ever, I played through a chart and it sounded like JAZZ--thanks to what I'm learning from you. I am so excited!!!”

Paula Lammers, jazz vocalist studying jazz piano

“The wealth of knowledge that I have gained from you over the last four years is immeasurable. People always ask me where I learned how to play and the only thing I can say is your name. I am enormously grateful that I was able to take so many lessons from you.”

Andy Colburn, jazz piano student

You are an inspirational and gifted teacher. Thanks again for your patience, attunement, and sensitivity!”

Peter Grant, adult jazz piano student

“It is wonderful how engaged he is with his lessons. You are so encouraging and supportive of bringing him out. I know he wants to improve for you, so that's great!”

Susan Pollack, parent of a jazz piano student

“We have heard [our son] play at several concerts lately and we were marveling at his incredible improvement over the last year. His playing and understanding and his enjoyment of jazz have grown soooooo much since working with you. Thanks so much for teaching and inspiring him!”

Kathy Mielke, parent of a jazz piano student

“I know you certainly have inspired [our son] to see that it is possible to make it in the music business without being a crazy person! We really appreciate your style of teaching and your calm and gentle manner. It was just what he needed at the time and helped him decide what he wanted to do with his life.”

Patty Clauson, parent of a jazz piano student

“You've helped me bring out a creative side in me that flows into all areas of my life. And for this I am truly grateful.”

Steven Snyder, adult jazz piano student

“Thanks again for the great lesson with [my son] last week! I was impressed with how quickly you assessed his skill level, and met and challenged him where he was at. He talked of nothing else on the car ride home, and "Softly as a Morning Sunrise" has been wafting through the house!”

Cindy Weckwerth, parent of a jazz piano student

“I wanted to tell you what an inspiration you were for [our daughter] this summer. She is absolutely on fire with composing! She hasn't played piano this much ever, I don't think. After years and years of lessons, practicing and drilling had become a negative for her. But what I had always hoped would happen finally has - she goes to the piano spontaneously every day, for lengths of time. I am beyond grateful that we found you! Thank you, a million times over! You have a gift for teaching.

Mary Jo Cole, parent of a jazz piano student