Monday, September 10, 2012

Virginia Mayhew Quartet, Mary Lou Williams--The Next 100 Years

The next 100 years. . . where will we be? Chances are pretty solid that I and anybody reading this will be gone from this earth under the best of circumstances. What about the music we call jazz? I am pretty certain that Mary Lou Williams will still be remembered, maybe more so than she is right now. And so it is fitting that she be honored, and she is, on Virginia Mayhew's Mary Lou Williams--The Next 100 Years (Renma 6402).

It is in celebration of Mary Lou William's 100th birthday. Virginia has put together a program of Williams compositions, both well-known and obscure, plus two pieces by Mayhew herself in dedication.

It's Virginia on tenor, Ed Cherry on electric guitar, Harvie S on the upright and Andy Watson on drums, joined on several cuts by special guest trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. They are in excellent form throughout. I don't know Mayhew's work very well but I am impressed with her here. She plays a pure-toned tenor with bop/postbop imagination and the rest of the band cooks right along superbly.

The Williams compositions are arranged straightforwardly to bring out the essence of her music, Virgina's originals fit in well and sound well as well, and the solos have conviction and weight.

It's a fine recording. It made a Virginia Mayhew believer out of me. So quite obviously I recommend it to you!

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