Andy Kirk: Walkin' & Swingin'


Walkin' & Swingin'


Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy


Let's Swing, Vol. 1 (Columbia River Group 1131)

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Mary Lou Williams (piano),

Harry Lawson, Paul King, Earl Thompson (trumpet); Ted Donnelly, Henry Wells (trombone); John Harrington (clarinet, alto sax, baritone sax), John Williams (alto sax, baritone sax), Dick Wilson (tenor sax), Ted Robinson (guitar), Claude Williams (violin), Booker Collins (bass), Ben Thigpen (drums)


Composed and arranged by Mary Lou Williams


Recorded: New York, March 2, 1936


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

When orchestrating her compositions, Mary Lou Williams never felt constrained by the sectional mindset that dominated big bands. She combined unmatched instruments the way a painter mixes colors from different parts of her palette. Here, she slyly draws us in with an opening chorus led by the saxes, with obbligato brass, except on the bridge when the roles are reversed. Boilerplate; straight from Arranging 101. Then she drops the other shoe, with a proto-boppish chorus-long unison to confound the most seasoned arranger. Mary Lou Williams is the least celebrated major talent in jazz history.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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