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Live At the Cookery (Live) [Remastered] {Bonus Tracks}

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In November 1970, Mary Lou Williams began a residency at the Cookery, a newly opened fine dining establishment in Manhattan at the corner of E. 8th Street and University Place. Accompanied only by bassist Michael Fleming, Williams played the little room five nights a week, from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. This live recording catches her in the familiar setting on the evening of July 8, 1975. Listening to these songs, it’s easy to understand why patrons flocked to her as a living embodiment of jazz. (Even Cecil Taylor, the high priest of the avant-garde, said to her: “No one’s playing anything but you.”) Here she navigates the various elements of jazz history—stride piano, blues, funk, pop standards—and unifies them with her thoughtful, searching fingers. While the playing of most piano bar performers is by definition rote, Williams’ performance shows wisdom and, more crucially, curiosity. You have only to hear her slowly sashay through the woozy chords of “Waltz Boogie” to understand that within the oldest, simplest scenarios she was still uncovering new pathways.

Customer Reviews

Superb Jazz !

This is one superb jazz album ! Really nice mood since it is live. Very easy to digest.


Born: May 8, 1910 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

To say that Mary Lou Williams had a long and productive career is an understatement. Although for decades she was often called jazz's greatest female musician (and one has to admire what must have been a nonstop battle against sexism), she would have been considered a major artist no matter what her sex. Just the fact that Williams and Duke Ellington were virtually the only stride pianists to modernize their style through the years would have been enough to guarantee her a place in jazz history...
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Live At the Cookery (Live) [Remastered] {Bonus Tracks}, Mary Lou Williams
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