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randyhersom

Mary Lou Williams

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In honor of the Asch Recordings (1944-1947) showing up on eMusic from Folkways, I thought it would be a good time to start a Mary Lou Williams thread. I enjoyed the Asch Recordings a great deal when they were issued on LP in 1977 and will be downloading them tonight. I believe Kool may be Kenny Dorham's first recorded solo.

It's likely that the Asch Recordings can be ordered on CD now.

Also newly appearing on eMusic is an album entitled Mary Lou Williams, whose first track is "Black Christ of the Andes (St. Martin de Porres)". This differs from the album "Mary Lou Williams Presents Black Christ of the Andes". It looks like "Presents" has four bonus tracks inserted just before the final track.

Zoning is a fascinating modernist set from Mary Lou. Bob Cranshaw plays electric bass, but I find his playing appropriate to the context.

Edited by randyhersom

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So far I have Black Christ Of The Andes and Zodiac Suite, two excellent albums. I have another on vinyl whose title escapes me, but it's so scratchy and noisy it's scarcely worth listening to. I'll be checking out the albums on emusic when my downloads refresh, Randy!

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I'll be checking out the albums on emusic when my downloads refresh, Randy!

Me too. Thanks for the heads-up, Randy. (Any Scrabble tournies lately?)

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Her Free Spirits piano trio album from the 1970s is essential, in my opinion.

I was fortunate to see her perform live. She was a giant.

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In honor of the Asch Recordings (1944-1947) showing up on eMusic from Folkways, I thought it would be a good time to start a Mary Lou Williams thread. I enjoyed the Asch Recordings a great deal when they were issued on LP in 1977 and will be downloading them tonight. I believe Kool may be Kenny Dorham's first recorded solo.

It's likely that the Asch Recordings can be ordered on CD now.

I love those half dozen trio side MLW made for Asch in 1944--Al Hall on bass and Bill Coleman on trumpet. Not a well-engineered set, however.

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I absolutely agree on Free Spirits - I used it on my second Blindfold Test.

Buster Williams plays great on that one.

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Played 2 scrabble tourneys this year, just missing the money both times.

Thanks for the hijack : )

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i own a gorgeous, beautifully recorded solo album on Chiaroscuro Records in the early 70's.

From The Heart, Mary Lou Williams -- Solo Pianist, 1971

Chiaroscuro Records, Jazz Piano Masters Series, CR 103

listening to her solo, one at once knows they are in the company of a great master.

Edited by alocispepraluger102

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No argument from me.

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Any personal favorites from Mary Lou, Lon?

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Oh gosh. . . I think I play her Chronogical Classics (Asch, Circle, etc.) material most. . . just really like the way they are and flow. And I love the live Zodiac Suite stuff. And. . . I really like Zoning and Mary Lou's Mass and the solo stuff. . . . Well. . . . I'm a big fan. The forties stuff has an energy I really like. . . the latest stuff has so much passion and strength. . . the religious stuff has real heart. She was a monstrous talent.

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Cool, I knew you'd have a well-developed opinion of her music. Thanks.

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Has anyone seen the Norman Granz' Jazz in Montreux: Mary Lou Williams '78 DVD?

70005145.jpg

It has been a while since I have seen the footage, but recall enjoying it.

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Picked up a couple of Williams discs recently after perusing this thread and listening to some samples on seeline's blog. Zodiac Suite (1945) and Free Spirits (1975) Buster Williams on bass and Mickey Roker on drums. Free Spirits includes a couple of versions of Baby Man -- what a great, great song. Discussing Williams' music with seeline earlier, it strikes me as very spiritual, haunting. Something there that I can't quite put my finger on.

I'd guess these are two pretty good discs to get acquainted with Williams' earlier music and later music. ... But where should I venture now?

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Pity her earlier work with Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy is so poorly represented on CD. I only have a few discs and the sound on most of them is horrible.

Edited by J.A.W.

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Picked up a couple of Williams discs recently after perusing this thread and listening to some samples on seeline's blog. Zodiac Suite (1945) and Free Spirits (1975) Buster Williams on bass and Mickey Roker on drums. Free Spirits includes a couple of versions of Baby Man -- what a great, great song. Discussing Williams' music with seeline earlier, it strikes me as very spiritual, haunting. Something there that I can't quite put my finger on.

I'd guess these are two pretty good discs to get acquainted with Williams' earlier music and later music. ... But where should I venture now?

I love her small group and solo work...

Live at the Cookery [should be on Emusic.com]

2563924.jpg

Nite Life - solo, not the best recording quality, but really beautiful music.

51AAC50S6YL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

My Mama Pinned a Rose On Me

51HKEQFD4PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

If you check any large online store, you should be able to find a number of other late-career live albums. I like them all.

I'm also partial to her earlier work as an arranger.

Edited by seeline

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Picked up a couple of Williams discs recently after perusing this thread and listening to some samples on seeline's blog. Zodiac Suite (1945) and Free Spirits (1975) Buster Williams on bass and Mickey Roker on drums. Free Spirits includes a couple of versions of Baby Man -- what a great, great song. Discussing Williams' music with seeline earlier, it strikes me as very spiritual, haunting. Something there that I can't quite put my finger on.

I'd guess these are two pretty good discs to get acquainted with Williams' earlier music and later music. ... But where should I venture now?

I love her small group and solo work...

Live at the Cookery [should be on Emusic.com]

2563924.jpg

Nite Life - solo, not the best recording quality, but really beautiful music.

51AAC50S6YL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

My Mama Pinned a Rose On Me

51HKEQFD4PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

If you check any large online store, you should be able to find a number of other late-career live albums. I like them all.

I'm also partial to her earlier work as an arranger.

Thanks. I've put those on my wish list. About to spin Zodiac Suite again. I'll look for some of the live stuff. ... I'll also be putting on Dave Douglas' Williams tribute "Soul on Soul" for a fresh listen soon just for fun.

Thanks again.

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I bought Douglas' Soul on Soul, thinking it was a straightforward MLW tribute. It's not that, but still - very good.

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"live at Monterey" is great - I've said this before but I've always felt she became too much of a blues sage in her later years - especially as there's an old quote where she speaks about feeling limited by the blues - and her later playing is too one-note for me; over the years, however, she wrote great arrangements (nice one for Benny Goodman recorded on Capitol); played pieces that were dissonant and complex; also recorded a version of Caravan, maybe 1943, that shows a striking resemblance to Monk, or at the least a powerful reference - don't have it in front of me but it's somewhere on Devilin Tune -

I tried to get her to let me interview her back in the 1970s, went and spoke to her at the Cookery; she was evasive and I never pursued it, though I wish now that I had - amazing lady -

Edited by AllenLowe

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From Free Spirits, an album I consider fairly modern for it's time, I would head to Zoning. The albums seeline pictured are a little more traditional. I need to download the live date with Ronnie Boykins soon from eMusic, that might tend to the modern side too.

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"live at Monterey" is great - I've said this before but I've always felt she became too much of a blues sage in her later years - especially as there's an old quote where she speaks about feeling limited by the blues - and her later playing is too one-note for me; over the years, however, she wrote great arrangements (nice one for Benny Goodman recorded on Capitol); played pieces that were dissonant and complex; also recorded a version of Caravan, maybe 1943, that shows a striking resemblance to Monk, or at the least a powerful reference - don't have it in front of me but it's somewhere on Devilin Tune -

I tried to get her to let me interview her back in the 1970s, went and spoke to her at the Cookery; she was evasive and I never pursued it, though I wish now that I had - amazing lady -

I would agree about her being (maybe) "too much of a blues sage," but still - some of her later playing (like "Baby Man," on Free Spirits) just amazes me. She was able to do so much with so little, in that case - it's a very haunting piece. I also have to wonder how much of the "blues sage" thing was her idea, vs. that of Peter O'Brien, you know? Agreed completely on her charts, including the stuff she did for BG. (I wish my copy of Undercurrent Blues was *not* in storage.)

randyhersom, agreed on Zoning. It's a great album! I guess I was trying too hard to be middle-of-the road in my recs. ;)

Edited by seeline

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didn't know she recorded with Boykins - one of my favorite bassists -

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didn't know she recorded with Boykins - one of my favorite bassists -

That's the recent release on High Note, A Grand Night for Swinging, recorded at the Keystone Korner, plus Roy Haynes on drums.

Edited by kh1958

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Yeah, downloaded and listened to the first four tracks this morning. Very worthwhile. Neither of her trio partners are as exuberantly out front as Buster Williams was on Free Spirits, but the interplay is excellent.

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