Gemini

Gemini

Mary Lou Williams’s twelve-movement Zodiac Suite is arguably her most important extended instrumental composition. Originally composed for and recorded by her piano trio in the spring of 1945 and expanded for big band later that year, it is a curious jazz parallel (not to mention a great alternative) to similarly inspired works like Tchaikovsky’s Seasons or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Of course, in order for it to have the kind of afterlife that music by Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi has, others have to take up the cause. This is precisely what pianist Geri Allen, bassist Buster Williams, and drummer Billy Hart do as “The Mary Lou Williams Collective” on Zodiac Suite: Revisited in their recreation of the original trio version. There are many treasures to savor throughout this nearly 50-minute performance, but I have a particular soft spot for Gemini; must be the time of the year.

—FJO

You might also enjoy

NewMusicBox provides a space for those engaged with new music to communicate their experiences and ideas in their own words. Articles and commentary posted here reflect the viewpoints of their individual authors; their appearance on NewMusicBox does not imply endorsement by New Music USA.