Jeong Lim Yang (b), Santiago Leibson (p), Gerald Cleaver (d)
Bar code: 8427328436410
Bassist Jeong Lim Yang's 2022 free reinterpretation of Mary Lou Williams's Zodiac Suite (1945)
"Time seems to catching up with the breathless vitality and originality of pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams, a brilliant swing era arranger who recorded her classic trio suite based on the twelve astrological signs on her sui generis concept album The Zodiac Suite in 1945. The recording not only captures the pianist’s inventive solos, but it brings the clarity of her compositional genius. It’s unquestionably one of the most unique recordings of the bebop era. The music has inspired numerous musicians including Geri Allen, Dave Douglas, and last year pianist Chris Patishall made one of my favorite albums reinventing the material with crisp concision – to say nothing of the Umlaut Big Band’s career-wide investigation. Bassist Jeong Lim Yang puts her thumbprints on the music with this excellent new account of the suite with drummer Gerald Cleaver and the Argentine pianist Santiago Leibson, who’s name seems to be popping up of late. The bassist opens up the tunes, often playing around with harmonic and melodic material to only hint at the themes as she kicks off some of the readings, but the indelible shapes of Williams can’t be disguised for long. Her instrument is upfront in the mix, her lines leading the way with their weighty, wooden presence, allowing Leibson greater latitude in reworking the material. A hidden gem."
—Peter Margasak (November 29, 2022)