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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb - but a word of caution, 8 May 2013
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This review is from: Zodiac Suite (Audio CD)
Mary Lou Williams is one of the greatest women in the history of jazz - and perhaps the greatest of all. Her Zodiac Suite - a dozen pieces reflecting jazz people (and some others) born under the different signs of the zodiac - is unique in the annals of the music. It deserves to be heard - and carefully listened to. But just a word of caution. Two versions recorded in 1945 are available - the original studio version with the pieces played by Mary Lou either solo on piano, or in a piano/bass duo, or in a piano/bass/drums trio; and a version recorded by her in concert on New Year's Eve, 1945, at New York's Town Hall, with orchestral and other accompaniment (and followed by other numbers played by Mary Lou with a group of jazz musicians, concluding with a jam session). Both should be heard. But one of my "bibles", "The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings" (9th edition), implies that the concert performance is on the CD produced on the Smithsonian Folkways label. It is not: this CD has only the original studio recordings. The concert recording has been available (including from Amazon) on a CD entitled "Mary Williams with her jazz big band and symphonic orchestra - the complete Town Hall concert of December 31, 1945", on Jazz Classics Records label; and it appears also to be available (including from Amazon) on another label. So be careful which you order. But, if you can, you should really do yourself a favour and get both! As the "Penguin Guide" puts it, the suite "remains a key moment in the recognition of jazz as an important twentieth-century music, not "classical", but with its own history and logic".
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Location: Hitchin, Herts, England

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