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Mary Lou Williams: Roll ‘Em

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On this 1944 transcription session for World Broadcasting, Milt Gabler caught Mary Lou Williams at her marvelous best, just before she was seduced by the charms of bebop. As with the era’s trumpet players, compressive jazz histories tend to overlook so many great pianistic talents, leaping from Johnson, Waller and Hines to Art Tatum, thence to indulge in the sour fruits of revolution as quickly as possible. Moving with the times is a musician’s privilege in jazz, but it is often the audience’s loss.

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