Saturday, 21 March 2015

26. Mary Lou Williams 1930-1941 (Featuring Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds Of Joy)

Mary Lou Williams was one of the most important figures that emerged from the Kansas City jazz scene in the 1930s. She was a prolific arranger and composer as well as being extraordinary pianist who would go on to mentor the likes of Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker.

This album chronicles her main body of work from 1930 to 1941, a time when she hooked up with Andy Sirk who was to become one of the most successful band leaders of the swing era.

The album actually kicks off with Williams demonstrating her chops in the solo Night Life followed by a selection of songs from the Mary Lou Williams Trio which includes a wonderful rendition of Jelly Roll Morton's The Pearls. The majority of the album is made up with songs from the Twelve Clouds Of Joy including Walking And Swinging and my personal favourite, Little Joe From Chicago. 

Everything rounds off perfectly with the last three tracks Zonky, Baby Dear and Harmony Blues given the septet treatment with some great solos including Williams herself.

1. Night Life

2. Overhand (New Froggy Bottom)

3. Clean Pickin'

4. The Pearls

5. The Rocks

6. Walkin' and Swingin'

7. Moten Swing

8. Bear Cat Shuffle

9. Steppin' Pretty

10. Twinklin'

11. Little Joe from Chicago

12. Mess-A-Stomp

13. Mary's Idea

14. Scratchin' the Gravel

15. The Count

16. Ring dem Bells

17. 47th Street Jive

18. Zonky

19. Baby Dear

20. Harmony Blues

Saturday, 21 February 2015

25. The Quintessential Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grapelli. 1934 - 1940

Quintette du Hot Club de France: 25 Classics 1934-1940

Click here for my original blog post looking at Django and Stephane

While Swing was becoming the big big thing in the USA in the mid 1930's there was another, perhaps more experimental, brand of jazz that was beginning to take shape on the other side of the pond. The music produced by the Quintette Du Hot Club De Jazz would significantly alter the future of jazz and music in general, especially the direction of the guitar.

The Quintette produced an absolute plethora of recordings during this period but an album like this concisely showcases the main songs that serve as a wonderful introduction to the world of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli. They are all here. Dinah, Tiger Rag, Djangology, Honeysuckle Rose (with Coleman Hawkins dipping his toes into experimental waters), and Nuages to name but a few.

1. Dinah

2. Oh, Lady Be Good

3. I Saw Stars

4. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)

5. I've Had My Moments

6. Djangology

7. St. Louis Blues

8. Limehouse Blues

9. I Got Rhythm

10. I've Found a New Baby

11. After You've Gone

12. Nagasaki

13. Swing Guitars

14. Charleston

15. You're Driving Me Crazy

16. Runnin' Wild

17. Improvisation

18. Minor Swing

19. Honeysuckle Rose

20. Sweet Georgia Brown

21. Night and Day

22. Daphné

23. Them There Eyes

24. I'll See You In My Dreams