2008 release featuring the Jazz pianist with Andy Kirk and his band, the Clouds of Joy, was one of the most popular orchestras in the mid-'30s and '40s. A lot of the credit must be given to the work of Mary Lou Williams, who played piano, wrote most of the arrangements and contributed many original compositions. Her originality is showcased on this compilation, which presents some of the band's best sides. Her style, albeit with strong individual lines, also shows the influence of Earl Hines and Teddy Wilson. 25 tracks. Definitive.
A lot of the music on this album will sound dated for two reasons: first the recording technology was relatively crude and second, the music is circa 1936-41. Yes, some of the recordings from that era are now anthems, but most of these never received the airplay those enjoyed and have fallen from memory. What is important is this collection showcases Mary Lou Williams' genius for arranging as well as her virtuosity on piano. During the era of these recordings women musicians … more