From the book “Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made It.” by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff
“At a convenient break, the introduced me and told Jelly they would like for him to hear me. Indicating that I should park my hips on the stool, Jelly gave over the piano and I got started on my favorite Morton piece, The Pearls. Almost immediately I was stopped and reprimanded, told the right way to phrase it. I played it the way Jelly told me, and when I had it to his satisfaction, I slipped in one of my own tunes. This made no difference. I was soon stopped and told: “Now that passage should be phrased like this.”
It’s been exciting digging deeper into the music of Mary Lou Williams. While I don’t play jazz, I do love to listen to it very much and Mary Lou Williams has been a favorite since I was in college in the late 90s.
As and undergrad, looking for music by Art Tatum, I stumbled onto a recording of her song, Nicole, on a compilation called Smithsonian Collection – Jazz Piano. It was one of those songs that I can still listen to over and over and over again.
The recording presented here, from the album Black Christ Of The Andes, is not the same as the one that caught my ears all those years ago, and I don’t find it quite as compelling. But, it is still very enjoyable.
Bau graciously made some time to sit with me to chat about the staircase.
Take a trip up the Heroes of Blues, Jazz and Country Staircase at the Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL.
Description of the Staircase
From the poster
“The musical portraits lining our stair and balcony rails are the work of legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb. they were originally produced as parts of three sets of trading cards issued by Yazoo Records in the 1980s: Heroes of the Blues, Early Jazz Greats, and Pioneers of Country Music.
“Images were selected to include representatives from all three genres, male and female artists, soloists as well as ensembles, famous and obscure performers, and as many different musical instruments as possible.”
“This project was funded through a generous contribution from Ken Pelletier and Amanda Lao.”
Old Town School of Folk Music is extremely grateful to the artists, who generously granted permission to reproduce these portraits in our lobby. We also gratefully acknowledge Shanachie Entertainment Corporation for their permission to use these copyrighted images. Formatting and digital imaging was donated by Robert Petrick Design.