The Squid's Ear Magazine

Umlaut Big Band: Mary's Ideas [2 CDs] (Umlaut Records)

Rare and newly discovered works from jazz composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams performed by the Umlaut Big Band in their series of portraits of forgotten jazz artist, here taking a broad look at the prodigious career of this essential and gifted pianist, composer & arranger, whose influence on swing and early be-bop deserves this fitting and inclusive overview.

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product information:

UPC: 352183467169

Label: Umlaut Records
Catalog ID: UMFRCD34/35
Squidco Product Code: 31105

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: Sweden / France / Germany
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 4 Panels w/ Booklet
Recorded at Philharmonie de Paris, in Paris, France, on January 23-27, 2021, by Baptiste Chouquet.


Pierre-Antoine Badaroux-direction, alto saxophone

Antonin-Tri Hoang-alto saxophone, clarinet

Pierre Borel-tenor saxophone, clarinet

Geoffroy Gesser-tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet

Benjamin Dousteyssier-baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, bass saxophone

Brice Pichard-trumpet

Pauline Leblond-trumpet

Gabriel Levasseur-trumpet

Emil Strandberg-trumpet

Michael Ballue-trombone

Alexis Persigan-trombone

Robinson Khoury-trombone

Judith Wekstein-bass trombone

Matthieu Naulleau-piano

Romain Vuillemin-guitar, banjo

Sebastien Beliah-double bass

Antonin Gerbal-drums

Liselotte Schricke-flute

Sylvain Devaux-oboe

Ricardo Rapoport-bassoon

Nicolas Josa-french horn

Hugo Boulanger-violin

Aliona Jacquet-violin

Clemence Meriaux-violin

Stephanie Padel-violin

Manon Philippe-violin


Emilie Sauzeau-violin

Leo Ullman-violin

Issey Nadaud-viola

Elsa Seger-viola

Felicie Bazelaire-cello

Elsa Guiet-cello

Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.

Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Since 2011, the Umlaut Big Band has made a specialty of going back to the early decades of jazz to revive the music of the great bands of that era, while commissioning contemporary composers to write new works.

After working on Don Redman in 2018, the Umlaut Big Band continues its series of portraits of forgotten composer-arrangers by focusing on the work of Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981), a prolific musician whose career spanned 50 years of jazz history, constantly open to its transformations.

Initially a pianist and prolific arranger for Andy Kirk's orchestra, she aroused the curiosity of the public - for women instrumentalists were rare in this male-dominated milieu - and in the 1940s became the mentor of Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and Dizzy Gillespie. She wrote for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman on numerous occasions and collaborated with Cecil Taylor, Shafi Hadi and Buster Williams in the 1970s.

The personal archives of Mary Lou Williams, preserved at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, bear the traces of this prolific trajectory. The original manuscripts served as the main source for this project informed by precise historical research. Thus, the Umlaut Big Band allows us to hear numerous compositions written between 1930 and 1981 and never-before-recorded.

Here, for the first time, the work of Mary Lou Williams the composer and arranger, has been considered as a whole. This album was conceived around themes specific to her musical practice: her relationship to the blues, the influence of Kansas City, the rewriting and reinvention of old works, the expression of a point of view on history and a relationship to youth. A reading that we hope will shed new light on an unjustly neglected figure."-Umlaut

Artist Biographies

"Pierre-Antoine Badaroux is a Paris-based alto saxophone player, composer and producer. He is working as a freelance composer since 2006, focusing on relations between sound, notation and the role of the musician in an ensemble. In 2008 he became an active member of record label and collective Umlaut Records, producing his own albums from the deconstructed Bebop of Peeping Tom to the original Composition No. 6, to a historical project on arrangers of Swing music with Umlaut Big Band that he leads, to the improvised music of r.mutt."

-Umlaut (

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"Pierre Borel is an improviser, composer and saxophonist born in Paris in 1987. He is working in field of improvised and experimental music. He lives in Berlin since 2006, and has performed in several european countries, Japan and USA. He attained a Masterdegree in Jazz Institut Berlin in 2008, and studies philosophy in Paris. Together with Florian Bergmann and Hannes Lingens, he is running the Umlaut Berlin Festival (1rst edition in 2009), and he is part of the european collectif Umlaut."

-Ausland (

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"Geoffroy Gesser, saxophone, clarinet

Geoffroy Gesser was born in 1986 in Montbéliard , eastern France . He discovered jazz at the Conservatoire de Montbéliard and fine-tuned his saxophone skills at the Conservatoire de Lyon, then at the Conservatoire N ational S upérieur de Paris, in the jazz and improvised music class.

Since 2007 he has taken part in several projects of Paris -based collectives of innovative music like Coax and Umlaut .

Geoffroy's style and writing oscillate between early 20th-century jazz, African-American free jazz of the 1960s, and the quest for ready-made, noise-based and original sounds. His way of playing is centered on a laid-back kind of energy, on listening and combining sounds with other musicians, on rhythmic editing of musical sequences and on the repetition of trance-inducing motifs.

Geoffroy can be heard in eclectic ensembles, ranging from traditional to experimental free jazz in BRIBES, BRIBES 4, Un Poco Loco, Umlaut Big Band and Flouxus.

Recipient of the Jazz Migration 2016 grant with Un Poco Loco, he has toured extensively thoughout France and Europe. In 2016, he participate d in the recording of Umlaut Big Band 's Euro Swing vol.2 , which was awarded the "prix Coup de cœur Jazz" by the prestigious Académie Charles Cros .

In 2015, Geoffroy was one of the driving forced behind the creation of BRIBES 4, a project which was augmented the following year by a light and scenograph y creation: BRIBES 4 "Licht". These projects are produced by " Le Ton Vertical ", an association based in Franche - Comté , eastern France."

-Geoffroy Gesser Website (

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Trumpeter Emil Strandberg is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and is a member of Fire! Orchestra, Seval, and Pan-Scan.

-Squidco 9/20/2023

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"After obtaining a degree in musical studies and Classical trombone in the Conservatory of Nantes (France), Alexis Persigan was admitted to the Conservatory of Tours, where he studied composition and to " Jazz à Tours ", the Jazz studies department of the Con-servatory. He completed both degrees in 2010.

Alexis plays in a variety of styles with such formations as Air Brigitte (an electric Jazz quartet), Tower-Bridge (Marc Ducret), Fastorgan (an improvisational music trio), Oblik (improvisational Jazz, on the album Order/Disorder, 2014), Les Pompiers (incendiary Jazz), Je-richo Sinfonia (the orchestra formation of the musicians collective Tricollectif) and the Balkanic Orkestar.

Alexis is currently a member of the Capsul collective and plays reg-ularly with many musicians."

-Aut Records (

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"Sébastien Beliah is a Paris-based double bass player and composer. His work is mainly focused on improvisation and oral composition (R.mutt), relationship between composed music and improvisation (Ensemble Hodos), and jazz (Umlaut big band, The Coquettes, Un poco loco). As a double bass player, Sébastien Beliah has performed solo pieces from Hans-Joachim Hespos, James Tenney or Kenneth Gaburo among others. He is also doing improvised solo performance. As a composer, his pieces has been performed by musicians like Félicie Bazelaire, Pierre Borel, Hannes Lingens or the large ensemble ONCEIM. Sébastien Beliah is also deeply involved in the field of education, and teach double bass, jazz and improvisation at the Conservatoire de Reims."

-Umlaut (

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"Since the release of File under: Bebop - Peeping Tom in 2009, Antonin Gerbal has developed his own approach of the drums - reinterpreting history of jazz drumming through the prism of european musical improvisation. Improviser, composer, teacher and performer, Antonin Gerbal is associated with the vitality of the Parisian music scene, notably through Umlaut Records. He has performed in Europe, U.S., Russia and Japan, with many original projects such as Nakasanye, Zoor, ISM or Peeping Tom. Involved in large ensembles such as ONCEIM (playing pieces Eliane Radigue or Stephen O'Malley) and Umlaut Big Band (swing dancing band), Antonin Gerbal works regularly with English, German, Swiss and Japanese artists. At the begining of 2016, he releases his solo works called Sound of Drums."

-Antonin Gerbal Website (

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"Felicie Bazelaire is a cello and double bass player based in Paris. She shares her time in different ways : between concerts and performances, studying pedagogy through a Masters degree at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, and teaching at the Orsay and Auxerre's conservatory. She is interested in classical music (chamber music) and contemporary music with her solo projects (improvisation, compositions, performances/actions...), the Hodos ensemble and the ONCEIM (a french improvised large orchestra led by Frederic Blondy). She is curious about the link between musicians, composers, improvisers and the actual music."

-Ausland (

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Track Listing:


1. Introduction - Suffering 2:00

2. Chunka Lunk 3:18

3. New Musical Express 2:41

4. Just An Idea (Mary's Idea) 4:22

5. Medi No.2 4:45

6. Truth 3:24

7. Aries 3:28

8. The Count 3:33

9. Hamony Blues 2:49

10. Mary's Idea (1930) 2:53

11. After You've Gone 3:31

12. Body And Soul 2:54

13. Mary Steps Out 2:52

14. Gjon Mili's Jam Session 3:55

15. Sweet Georgia Brown 3:56

16. Stardust (Big Band) 3:12

17. Lonely Moments (1943) 4:39

18. Sleepy Valley 2:42

19. Kool 2:57

20. Conversation 3:09

21. Scorpio 3:29

22. Untitled Incidental Music (Excerpts) 4:13


1. Fill The Cup 3:22

2. Blue Skies 3:05

3. Joe 2:23

4. O.W. 3:27

5. Mary's Idea (1938) 3:51

6. Stardust (Trio) 3:10

7. Lonely Moments 3:47

8. Ghost Of Love 3:02

9. Fifth Dimension 3:28

10. Earl's Boogie 3:20

11. Roll'Em 10:37

12. Taurus 2:54

13. Aquarius 3:33

14. Virgo 4:14

15. History Of Jazz For Wind Symphony: Spiritual #1 - Spiritual #2 1:51

16. Fandangle 1:53

17. Zoning Fungus II 7:52

18. Chief Natoma From Tacoma 3:58

19. Shafi 3:28

20. Rosa Mae 4:08

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Large Ensembles
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
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