Mary Lou Williams

Mary Lou Williams & Orchestra and Meade Lux Lewis

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This anthology pairs recordings from several 1944 sessions for Asch, including three separate dates by Mary Lou Williams and almost all of a solo piano date by Meade "Lux" Lewis. The personnel list is rather incomplete, omitting the presence of Coleman Hawkins and trumpeter Bill Coleman in the boppish, rather loose interpretation of "Oh Lady Be Good," which could have easily been copyrighted under a new title. Coleman and bassist Al Hall join Williams for the oddly titled "Carcinoma" (a medical term for cancer), a sauntering but interesting original by the pianist. Don Byas, Vic Dickenson, trumpeter Dick Vance, and clarinetist Claude Green join her on the remaining tracks, including "Stardust" and two unremarkable Williams compositions. The six solos by boogie-woogie pianist Lewis come from his August 18, 1944, session. Unfortunately, the source material is a bit noisy in places, and "Boogie Tidal" is faded prematurely on this CD reissue, cutting off the last few chords that were present on the earlier records. The driving "Yancey's Pride" is the highlight of this rather brief session. This reissue would rate higher without the sloppy spelling of several song titles and careless remastering, though finding the earlier individual Stinson or Asch LPs may not be easy for many collectors.

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