Search - Mary Lou Williams :: 1927 to 1940

1927 to 1940
Mary Lou Williams
1927 to 1940
Genre: Jazz
 
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1

This is the first in the Chronological Classics series of Mary Lou Williams recordings, collecting all her dates as a leader in the first 13 years of her recording career. Throughout, you hear a musician who was a key part...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Mary Lou Williams
Title: 1927 to 1940
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Classics
Release Date: 7/27/1999
Genre: Jazz
Styles: Swing Jazz, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1

Synopsis

Amazon.com
This is the first in the Chronological Classics series of Mary Lou Williams recordings, collecting all her dates as a leader in the first 13 years of her recording career. Throughout, you hear a musician who was a key part of the times, but also a musician who was looking ahead. She was just 16 years old when she recorded the first music heard here, six tracks by her husband John Williams's Synco Jazzers. It's rugged period fare, including the funereal "Pee Wee Blues" and the spirited ensemble improvisation of "Cut It Loose," but Williams is already a pianist of energy and dimension. Her solo career begins with two 1930 recordings from Chicago and it's an arrival of major proportions. Her style blends ragtime, stride and blues--not unusual for the times--but her chord voicings on "Night Life" and the dissonant harmonies of "Drag 'Em" already shows hints of modernism. A leap of six years follows in Williams's recordings, years when she was working regularly with Andy Kirk and the 12 Clouds of Joy. Other members of the Kirk band act as sidemen to Williams in the recordings heard here, from 1936 to 1940. Bassist Booker Collins and drummer Ben Thigpen make up the rhythm section on a series of fine trio recordings from 1936 and 1938. "Swingin' for Joy" is just that, and the mood extends to the other pieces here as well. As both composer and pianist, Williams had already developed a style of her own. The very pretty "Mary's Special" has a celesta interlude, a sprightly stride passage, and some chords that wouldn't be out of place coming from Bud Powell. When Williams plays Jelly Roll Morton's "The Pearls," it seems more like a step forward in jazz piano than a look back. On the final six tracks, Williams leads septets of her Kirk co-workers. It's animated small-group swing, including a rousing version of Fats Waller's "Zonky." --Stuart Broomer