1

Virginia Mayhew Quartet: Mary Lou Williams: The Next 100 Years

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Virginia Mayhew Quartet: Mary Lou Williams: The Next 100 Years Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth date of pianist, composer and arranger Mary Lou Williams, the Virginia Mayhew Quartet pays homage to one of the most unheralded, yet most important jazz figures of all time on Mary Lou Williams—The Next 100 Years. Presenting new arrangements of eight Williams compositions and two original blues charts, Mayhew directs a formidable quartet of veteran players and special guest, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon to make for a powerful quintet sound on several tracks.

A prominent saxophonist, well-known fixture on the New York music scene and Musical Director of the Duke Ellington Legacy ensemble, Mayhew came up with the idea for this concept album after discussions with Italian pianist Tony Pancella on tour in Italy 2009. Originally looking to produce a more modern version of the Williams sound, Mayhew realized the music had to contain certain elements of swing and blues as well. In response to her research, Mayhew decided to enlist the help of Dizzy Gillespie alumnus Ed Cherry, whose blues inflected style would address the blues side of the equation. With her long-time bassist Harvie S and New York drummer Andy Watson to round out her core quartet, Mayhew cements a strong foundation upon which she builds this special celebration tribute to the late legend.

Not recorded since 1977, "J.B.'s Waltz" kicks off the celebration on a bluesy note, followed by "Medi I" and "Medi II." Though sharing similar titles ("Medi" is short for Meditation), the two could not be more different, with the first possessing a boppish flair featuring Gordon and Mayhew, while the latter changes direction becoming a slow layered ballad on which the saxophonist and Cherry are key. "Cancer" is perhaps the album's most challenging piece of music containing various changes throughout its eleven and a half minutes duration.

Mayhew and crew deliver an excellent rendition of "What's Your Story Morning Glory," one of Williams' most popular compositions. The 1953 tune, "N.M.E." (also known as "New Musical Express"), keeps some of its bebop texture, while featuring the bassist on lead. This anniversary tribute concludes with "One For Mary Lou" and "5 For Mary Lou," two Mayhew blues compositions dedicated specifically to the arranger for this disc.

Virginia Mayhew's serpentine saxophone lines and Gordon's penetrating trombone serve to produce their fair share of big band swing and swagger on Mary Lou Williams—The Next 100 Years, creating a birthday gift of inspirational music perfect for a new generation to explore.

Track Listing: J.B.'s Waltz; Medi II; Medi I; O.W.; Cancer; What's You Story Morning Glory; N.M.E.; Waltz Boogie; One for Mary Lou; 5 for Mary Lou.

Personnel: Virginia Mayhew: tenor saxophone; Gordon Wycliffe: trombone (2, 5, 6, 9, 10); Ed Cherry: guitar; Harvie S: bass; Andy Watson: drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Renma Recordings


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Intenso!" CD/LP/Track Review Intenso!
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics" CD/LP/Track Review Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics
by Paul Naser
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "Supernovae" CD/LP/Track Review Supernovae
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Troy Collins
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Silk & Steel" CD/LP/Track Review Silk & Steel
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Irmãos De Fé" CD/LP/Track Review Irmãos De Fé
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 6, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!