Amazon.com Widgets

Mary Lou Williams: Mary Lou Williams At Rick's Cafe Americain (2011)

By Published: | 4,585 views
Mary Lou Williams: Mary Lou Williams At Rick's Cafe Americain How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The second album of this double CD issue was released by Storyville in 1998, under the same title. Valuable enough in its way, featuring pianist Mary Lou Williams three years before her death, playing standards that include one of her own, "What's Your Story, Morning Glory?," originally composed for the Andy Kirk
Andy Kirk
Andy Kirk
1898 - 1992
composer/conductor
band in the days when she was the "baby at the baby grand." But the icing on the cake of this reissue is another disc, that features six solo numbers and an additional eight trio tracks, all from the same gig.

Williams' playing is incredibly robust, bearing in mind that, shortly before this set on November 14 1979 at Rick's Café Americain, in Chicago, she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But she never was one to let things get her down. Just before her death, looking back on her long career, she said, "I did it, didn't I? Through muck and mud."

She surely did, writing and arranging hundreds of songs in the swing era for Kirk, Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
and Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
1909 - 1986
clarinet
, then going on to become friend and mentor to the men who more or less single-handedly created bebop, Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
, Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
and Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
.

Williams was woefully under-recorded later in life, and Storyville has done the jazz world a great service in bringing to light these 14 tracks from Rick's, which were left out first time around—the six solos, most of all.

The first of these, "Spirituals 2 & 3" reflects Williams' interest in religious music, which culminated in her 1960s composition, "Black Christ of the Andes," in honor of Peruvian monk St. Martin de Porres, patron saint of inter-racial harmony.

After the stunningly fast Spanish-tinged "Fandangle," Williams returns to her roots with "Old Fashioned Slow Blues." The happy-go-lucky "Night Life" acts as a prelude to the out-and-out boogie-woogie of "Baby Bear Boogie/Roll 'Em," harking back to her time with the Kirk band in Kansas City where Pete Johnson
Pete Johnson
Pete Johnson
b.1904
piano
was king of the keyboard.

There are two versions of Billy Taylor
Billy Taylor
Billy Taylor
1921 - 2010
piano
's "A Grand Night For Swinging," which Williams made her own, some nice takes on various pieces of Ellingtonia, and a wonderfully intricate version of "Autumn Leaves," featuring a long bass solo by Milton Scruggs. The entire session is chockfull of technical twists and turns, imbued with Williams' indomitable sense of humor. Who could ask for anything more?

Track Listing: CD1: Spirituals 2 & 3; Fandangle; Old Fashioned Slow Blues; Night Life; Baby Bear Boogie/Roll 'Em; Gloria; Autumn Leaves; I Can't Get Started; They Can't Take That Away From Me; Satin Doll; The Jeep Is Jumping; A Grand Night For Swinging; Blues For Timme; St. James Infirmary. CD2: Surrey With The Fringe On Top; The Man I Love; My Funny Valentine; Oh! Lady Be Good; Mack The Knife; 'Round Midnight; Caravan, A Grand Night For Swinging; Love For Sale; What's Your Story, Morning Glory; Without A Song; Over The Rainbow; A Grand Night For Swinging.

Personnel: Mary Lou Williams: piano; Milton Scruggs: bass; Drashear Khalid: drums.

Record Label: Storyville Records


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Sponsor: Nonesuch Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google