Introduction: His Best Recordings 1929-1946

Editorial Reviews

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Maybe pianist, composer, and arranger Mary Lou Williams will get her critical due in the next millennium. Williams's presence is strongly felt in each decade from the 1930s to the 1980s; still the precociousness of her early work is particularly astounding. Barely out of her teens, Williams became a linchpin for the Kansas City-based big band Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy. Kirk's band was graced with a swinging rhythm section and a brilliant tenor saxophonist, Dick Wilson. Still, it's Williams's stunningly constructed compositions and imaginative arrangements -- including "Walkin' and Swingin'," "Froggy Bottom," and "Mary's Idea," -- that make this ensemble special. Williams also got around the piano with ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Maybe pianist, composer, and arranger Mary Lou Williams will get her critical due in the next millennium. Williams's presence is strongly felt in each decade from the 1930s to the 1980s; still the precociousness of her early work is particularly astounding. Barely out of her teens, Williams became a linchpin for the Kansas City-based big band Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy. Kirk's band was graced with a swinging rhythm section and a brilliant tenor saxophonist, Dick Wilson. Still, it's Williams's stunningly constructed compositions and imaginative arrangements -- including "Walkin' and Swingin'," "Froggy Bottom," and "Mary's Idea," -- that make this ensemble special. Williams also got around the piano with dexterity, wit, and invention. Musicians from Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis to Cecil Taylor and Gerri Allen recognized Williams's genius; This collection is a fine point of entry to learn why. --Steve Futterman
All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
Andy Kirk (1898-1992) and his Clouds of Joy played a major role in the development of the Kansas City big-band swing tradition, picking up where Bennie Moten left off and plowing a fertile furrow parallel to those of Count Basie, Jimmie Lunceford, and Erskine Hawkins. In 1998, the Best of Jazz label released a collection of 22 well-chosen examples of this band in its finest moments, recorded between 1929 and 1946, a period during which jazz evolved from hot to swing to bop. The heart of Kirk's operation was pianist, composer, and arranger Mary Lou Williams. Vocalists included honeyed crooner Pha Terrell, guitarist Floyd Smith, and Cab Calloway's big sister Blanche Calloway. Through the years the trumpet section was heated up by Edgar Battle, Harold "Shorty" Baker, Howard McGhee, and Fats Navarro. Tenor saxophonists included Don Byas, Jimmy Forrest, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and Al Sears. Listen also for the violin of Claude "Fiddler" Williams and (on the later end of the timeline) a young Mississippi-born pianist who was raised in Pontiac, MI by the name of Hank Jones. With ingredients like these, it's not surprising that the music presented on this collection is solid and satisfying.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/7/1998
  • Label: Best Of Jazz
  • EAN: 3307518405325
  • Catalog Number: 4053

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Lotta Sax Appeal - John Williams (2:31)
  2. 2 Froggy Bottom (3:13)
  3. 3 I Need Lovin' - Blanche Calloway (2:51)
  4. 4 Walkin' and Swingin' (2:58)
  5. 5 Moten Swing (3:08)
  6. 6 Steppin' Pretty (2:50)
  7. 7 Until the Real Thing Comes Along (3:03)
  8. 8 In the Groove (3:06)
  9. 9 Twinklin' (3:12)
  10. 10 Little Joe from Chicago (2:52)
  11. 11 Mess-A Stomp (3:12)
  12. 12 I Won't Tell a Soul (I Love You) (3:14)
  13. 13 Mary's Idea (3:04)
  14. 14 Floyd's Guitar Blues (3:10)
  15. 15 Wham (Wham, Re, Bop, Boom, Bam) (3:05)
  16. 16 Scratching in the Gravel (3:10)
  17. 17 The Count - Andy Kirk & His Clouds of Joy (3:11)
  18. 18 Boogie Woogie Cocktail - Andy Kirk & His Clouds of Joy (2:47)
  19. 19 McGhee Special - Andy Kirk & His Clouds of Joy (2:54)
  20. 20 Worried Life Blues (Someday, Baby) (2:28)
  21. 21 He's My Baby (3:24)
  22. 22 Doggin' Man Blues (3:06)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Andy Kirk Primary Artist, Trombone, Tuba, Baritone Saxophone
Jimmy Forrest Tenor Saxophone
Hank Jones Piano
Fats Navarro Trumpet
Al Sears Tenor Saxophone
Pinetop Smith Trumpet
Howard McGhee Trumpet
Ken Kersey Piano
Mary Lou Williams Piano
Harold Baker Trumpet
Don Byas Tenor Saxophone
Blanche Calloway Vocals, Track Performer
Booker Collins Bass
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Tenor Saxophone
Ted Donnelly Trombone
Allen Durham Trombone
Al Hall Bass
John Harrington Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone
Edward Inge Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Harry Lawson Trumpet
John Lynch Trumpet
Eddie McNeil Drums
Earl Miller Alto Saxophone
Reuben Phillips Alto Saxophone
John Porter Baritone
Rudy Powell Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Milt Robinson Trombone
Ben Smith Alto Saxophone
Floyd Smith Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar, Steel Guitar, Vocals
Pha Terrell Vocals
Ben Thigpen Drums
Clarence Trice Trumpet
Henry Wells Trombone
Beverly White Vocals
Claude "Fiddler" Williams Violin
John Williams Alto Saxophone, Baritone
Dick Wilson Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
June Richmond Vocals
Edgar Battle Trumpet
Fred Robinson Trombone
Beatrice Booze Vocals
Andy Kirk & His Clouds of Joy Track Performer
Bob Murray Trombone
Gene Prince Trumpet
William Dirvin Banjo, Guitar
Claude Dunson Trumpet
John Burris Trumpet
Ted Robinson Guitar
Earl Thomson Trumpet
Lawrence Freeman Tenor Saxophone
Billy Kirk Banjo
Wayman Richardson Trombone
Joe Evans & Arthur McClain Alto Saxophone
Paul King Trumpet
John Williams Alto Saxophone, Baritone
Technical Credits
Andy Kirk Director
Bennie Moten Composer
Howard McGhee Arranger
Ken Kersey Arranger
Mary Lou Williams Arranger
Blanche Calloway Director
Eddie Durham Composer
Taps Miller Composer
John Williams Composer
Graham Colombe Liner Notes
Ross Parker Composer
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