Face the Music: Palaver Strings pays homage to jazz great Mary Lou Williams

By | November 14, 2022

Palaver strings. Photograph by Christina Wnek

The 11 members of Palaver Strings will carry out the 12 actions of “Zodiac Suite” in tribute to its composer, Mary Lou Williams, Thursday on the State Theater.

The Portland-based, musician-led string ensemble will carry out an association of the suite by Manhattan-based pianist Chris Patishall, whose trio will be part of within the efficiency.

Williams, who was born in 1910 and died in 1981, left a tremendous legacy that features his collaboration with Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman and his affect on Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.

Mary Lou Williams. [Portrait of Mary Lou Williams, New York, N.Y. ca. 1946] William P. Gottlieb (1917-2006), photographer. Public area.

Williams began taking part in the piano when she was round 3 years previous and her expertise was already evident on the time.

When she was 6 years previous and residing in Pittsburgh, Williams, who’s black, needed to endure violence from white neighbors throwing bricks on the home the place she lived with a number of siblings. Williams realized that these similar neighbors have been followers of her sport, so to cease the assaults, she performed for them of their houses.

Paying homage to Williams is a part of Palaver Strings’ anti-racism mission, “(to look at) classical music’s legacy of exclusion and white supremacy, and the way that legacy shapes our taking part in, our decision-making, and our methods of being collectively”. in line with its web site.

“I believe if it weren’t for causes of race and gender and what we take into account gender boundaries, we’d take into account her one of many nice American composers of the interval,” stated Lysander Jaffe, violist and co-artistic director of Palaver Strings. . “His work is lastly getting a number of the recognition it deserves.”

Jaffe famous that different bands, together with the New York Philharmonic, have performed the sequel, which Williams wrote in 1944. Every bit corresponds to the zodiac indicators of his pals and friends, from the cheerful and playful “Virgo” to the darker and extra severe. “Stability.”

“I had thought, I really like this room, and it is such an fascinating assembly place between chamber music and jazz,” stated Jaffe, whose brother is the bassist for the visitor trio.

Palaver Strings will work with the trio for every week of intensive in-person rehearsals. The ensemble hopes for turnout as a result of dimension of the State Theatre.

Palaver Strings: Zodiac
8 p.m. Thursday. State Theater, 609 Congress St., Portland, $20, $5 college students. statetheatreportland.com

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