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Published on May 26, 2010
track 05 from Mary Lou's album "Zodiac Suite", recorded in 1945.
Mary Lou Williams (piano); Al Lucas (bass); Jack "The Bear" Parker (drums).
About the album: As chronicled in the fascinating liner notes, the back-story adds texture and perspective to an intriguing series of interpretations of each sign of the zodiac. Williams launched the endeavor with a moody, melancholy play on her own sign, "Taurus," in 1944, followed by the thoughtful and graceful solo piece "Libra," which she dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, and Thelonious Monk. Allen expertly conveys the joyful side of the zodiac via playful swing and spirited improvisations on the opening piece "Aries" and "Gemini," one of the most hypnotic and engaging. Individual numbers of the 12-piece "Suite" can be enjoyed as reflections of the development without knowing their astrological reference, but part of the charm is wondering how and why Williams processed certain signs in the unique ways she did.