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They Can't Take That Away From Me They Can't Take That Away From Me (alt. take) Lady Bird For You Don't Blame Me (alt. take) Round About Midnight (alt. take) Round About Midnight Perdido Kool Bongo Don't Blame Me Titoros Titoros (alt. take)
|Soloist/Artist||Mary Lou Williams|
|Instruments||Music and Musicians|
|Accompanist/ Conductor||Ken Napper on bass, Allan Ganley on drums, and Tony Scott on bongos|
Customer Reviews (3)
- First and Foremost!!!!Review by Big Toots
Mary Lou William’s extraordinary life and accomplishments make me think of her as “The Oprah Winfrey of jazz.” Consider, if you will, born in abject poverty and one of 11 kids, she was helping to support her family by playing parties at age 6, started performing professionally at 7, played with Duke Ellington at 13, arranged for Benny Goodman, et al, mentored Bopsters Monk, Diz and Bird, did a weekly radio show, founded her own record label and publishing company, was an active advocate for less-fortunate musicians, composed large-scale works, preached on Harlem streets and recorded The History of Jazz as performer and commentator. The life story is as amazing as it is epic, especially when one considers Williams was a woman in very much a man’s jazz world. And, it is that incredible woman’s glorious music presented in this recording.
Williams and crew recorded these twelve extraordinary selections (including three alternate takes) on one day in 1953 in London. Across the date, Williams swings viciously and simultaneously delivers an undercurrent of joy that is almost tangible. She plays piano with the same virtuosity and joy that Clark Terry had playing trumpet. This chick is having a ball and we can hear it. Adept at virtually any genre from stride and rags to swing and Bop, Williams could hang with the best of them and she sure does here (“Lady Bird,” “Perdido”). Interestingly, she has Duke and Earl Hines keyboard shadings and one can hear her stylings resonating in Ahmad Jamal (“Kool Bongo”) and both Billy Taylor and Marian McPartland (both of whom, like Williams, also crossed over into broadcasting jazz). Williams was a melody-maker and tonal lover. Her touch is elegant, never pompous or heavy (both takes of “Don’t Blame Me”). She could and does use the entire keyboard as her artistic canvas with colors from the bluest of blue (“’Round About Midnight”) to the warmest red (“Titoros”). The accompanying musicians here do a fine job in collaborating with Williams. Although I do find Tony Scott’s bongos an unnecessary distraction.
Mary Lou Williams First Lady of the Piano is about as classy and sublime as it gets. “The Oprah,” as great as she may be, can’t touch “The Little Piano Girl of East Liberty,” as you’ll hear in this treasure of a recording and its treasured artist.
(Posted on 5/4/2015)
- Simon SezReview by Mary Lou Williams
There is nothing confusing about Mary Lou Williams’ playing on this album from 1953. She sounds like she is 20 years younger than she actually was, playing adventurous bop in her own style. Her versions of such songs as “Lady Bird” and “’Round Midnight” make those bop classics sound as if they were written for her, or like she wrote them herself. Mary Lou Williams was remarkable and fit into every time period.
Simon Sez: Mary Lou Williams, heard on First Lady Of The Piano (IC7006), could play in any style from 1925-75. Here she is Ms. Modern Bop.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
- Review by Scott Yanow
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