Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Showcasing a genius
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 09/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1931, when bandleader Andy Kirk found himself stuck in Kansas City with one of his key musicians unable to play, he lucked out by finding pianist Mary Lou Williams available to fill the slot. Williams, one of the most gifted musicians of her time, joined Kirk's Twelve Clouds Of Joy as a full-time composer, arranger and soloist. Williams had a deft, fluid touch, and swiftly established herself as one of the most unique voices in modern jazz. These recordings, made for the Brunswick and Decca labels, are from 1936-41, all several years after Williams had joined the ensemble. As the title implies, these all bear the soft but solid stamp of her artistry -- like many swing albums, it does get a bit repetitive taken as a whole, but song by song, it's all sublime. This disc is predominantly instrumental, although there are several lovely vocal numbers, featuring Harry Mills, Pha Terrell, and one by drummer Ben Thigpen. Sweet stuff! This particular CD seems to be out of print, but it's worth searching for, as are any other Kirk/Williams collaborations of similar vintage."
jive rhapsodist | NYC, NY United States | 05/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mary Lou Williams wrote some of the finest Jazz compositions and arrangements of the Swing Era. And she did this with a band that was not awesome in terms of either its sonic vocabulary or its solo strength. But they sure gave it up to her. There are a handful of tracks on this CD that can surely be called masterpieces: Mary's Idea, Walkin' and Swingin', What's Your Story, Morning Glory?, Foggy Bottom,A Mellow Bit of Rhythm, Scratchin' In The Gravel - these at least. The audacious minor seconds in the trumpets at the end of What's Your Story...? are the first recorded examples I know of of one the key Monk - isms. And Mary's Idea is, in it's more modest way, as rhythmically sophisticated as Duke's Diminuendo in Blue. Walkin' and Swingin' is just a classic - and one of the sources (along w/ Duke's Ducky Wucky) for Monk's Rhythm - a - ning. Special kudos to drummer Ben Thigpen with his simple, light touch. Highly recommended for that special Kansas City groove - and of course for the work of that underrated genius Ms. Williams."