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Live at the Cookery

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A definitive look at talented pianist Mary Lou Williams in her
later years takes listeners on a trip through the history of jazz, from
hymns and blues to stride, swing, and bop. (All Music Guide)

Amazon.com

Mary Lou Williams had been performing for over a half-century when these recordings were made at New York's Cookery in the 1970s, but what's even more remarkable than the vigor of her playing is its range. A significant harmonic innovator, Williams had never stopped growing, absorbing, and adapting all the shifting accents that jazz had developed into her own distinct style. Every part of her playing had stayed fresh, and her rhythmic language is as varied as her use of block chords, modes, and occasional dissonance. "Roll 'Em" demonstrates her command of classic boogie piano, while "Waltz Boogie" is an imaginative variant. "Praise the Lord" and "Blues for Peter" reach back to gospel and blues sources, but they're played with an insistent, probing intensity that is Williams's own. Her version of "The Man I Love" is angular bop pressing toward atonality. Similarly, her swinging version of "Mack the Knife" uses erratic percussive clusters to keep her ideas moving. Williams gets empathic support throughout from bassist Brian Torff, a fleet-fingered soloist whose lithe walking bass lines are an essential part of this performance. --Stuart Broomer

Live at the Cookery

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