Mary Lou Williams: Clean Pickin'
Mary Lou Williams (piano)
Mary Lou Williams Story 1930-1941 (Jazz Archive 116)
Composed by Mary Lou Williams.
Recorded: New York, March 11, 1936
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Mary Lou Williams didn't need bass and drums to keep the dancers shaking and shimmying. With her driving, two-fisted piano playing, Mary Lou was a one-woman band. Bassist Booker Collins and drummer Ben Thigpen come along for the ride on "Clean Pickin'" but Mary Lou sets the pace from start to finish. The Kansas City scene attracted many of the hardest swinging pianists of the era -- Count Basie, Jay McShann and Pete Johnson among others -- but Mary Lou could challenge the best of them. A very hot performance from a master of pre-bop piano stylings.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia