19 Songs, 56 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In late 1953 Mary Lou Williams moved to Paris, where she found steady work playing for artists and expatriates in the bohemian nightclubs of the Left Bank. While there she recorded two sessions, both in early 1954, which were issued on a series of 10-inch records on Blue Star and Club Français du Disque. This volume of the Jazz in Paris series collects those sessions, offering an idea of what you might have heard had you stumbled into the Perdido Club or the Ringside on a night when Williams was at the keys. Even though she was only working with a small combo of Parisian pickup musicians and a few African-American expatriates, Williams could easily revive the smoothly rollicking big-band R&B that she honed during her early years in Kansas City. There are also several sophisticated blues pieces, including “Freight Train Blues,” which features the British jazz vocalist Beryl Bryden. While the small group recordings highlight Williams’ fundamental values (subtlety, elegance, ingenuity), these values are never stronger than when she's playing solo, as on “I Made You Love Paris” and “Club Français Blues.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

In late 1953 Mary Lou Williams moved to Paris, where she found steady work playing for artists and expatriates in the bohemian nightclubs of the Left Bank. While there she recorded two sessions, both in early 1954, which were issued on a series of 10-inch records on Blue Star and Club Français du Disque. This volume of the Jazz in Paris series collects those sessions, offering an idea of what you might have heard had you stumbled into the Perdido Club or the Ringside on a night when Williams was at the keys. Even though she was only working with a small combo of Parisian pickup musicians and a few African-American expatriates, Williams could easily revive the smoothly rollicking big-band R&B that she honed during her early years in Kansas City. There are also several sophisticated blues pieces, including “Freight Train Blues,” which features the British jazz vocalist Beryl Bryden. While the small group recordings highlight Williams’ fundamental values (subtlety, elegance, ingenuity), these values are never stronger than when she's playing solo, as on “I Made You Love Paris” and “Club Français Blues.”

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