Cecilia Smith
Photo of Cecilia Smith
Cecilia Smith Small Ensembles
Mary Lou Williams Resurgence Project
Dark Triumph
Crossing Bridges


About the Project
The Music
Printed Materials

Order the CD from INNOVA


Cecilia Smith - vibraphone
Lafayette Harris Jr. - piano, Hammond B-3 organ
Carlton Holmes - piano, Hammond B-3 organ
Kenny Davis - acoustic bass
Ron Savage - drums
Carla Cook - vocalist
Sheila Anderson - voice-over (On Air Host WBGO Jazz 88)

Producers – Cecil Bridgewater, Lafayette Harris Jr. & Cecilia Smith

List of Tunes:
Sketch 1- Truth Be Told For MLW (Cecilia Smith)
What's Your Story Morning Glory? (Mary Lou Willams)
Miss D.D. (Composed for Doris Duke) (Mary Lou Willams)
Body and Soul (Johnny Greene)
Sketch 3 - 100 Years of MLW (Cecilia Smith)
Tell Me How Long The Train's Been Gone? (Mary Lou Willams & Paula Stone)
St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy)
Spiritual 2 - Who Was Mary Lou Williams? (Spoken Word) (Mary Lou Willams)
It's a Grand Night for Swinging (Dr. Billy Taylor)
Miss D. D. (Version 2) (Mary Lou Willams)


For the past four decades, Cleveland-born, Berklee-educated vibraphonist/composer/bandleader/educator Cecilia Smith has reigned supreme on her instrument. A master of the four-mallet technique, Smith is the latest in a select line of vibraphone virtuosos, from Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson to Gary Burton and Bobby Hutcherson. Her latest project is a rooted and revelatory tribute to Mary Lou Williams: the pioneering pianist/composer/arranger and midwife to the bebop movement and beyond. Smith and her ensemble, featuring pianist Lafayette Harris and vocalist Carla Cook, revive and reimagine William's soulful sound world with their 21-century straight-ahead, blues, waltz, ballad and gospel inventions and dimensions. Simply put: It takes a master to salute one.
Eugene Holley, Jr., Down Beat, Hot House Jazz Guide, Publishers Weekly

Cecilia Smith's new MARY LOU WILLIAMS RESURGENCE PROJECT is a splendid evocation of the artistic tradition of the great pianist-composer, a true jazz influencer who has been far too overlooked in the pantheon of jazz giants she so rightfully occupies. Here Cecilia delivers fresh arrangements & re-imaginings of such MLW familiars as "What's Your Story, Morning Glory", "It's a Grand Night for Swinging", and "Miss D.D," as well as other selections from Ms. Williams' vast repertoire. And Cecilia includes radio vet Sheila Anderson's loving recitation of MLW scholar Tammy Kernodle's tributary narrative "Who Was Mary Lou Williams". This program is delivered by a very simpatico cast of musicians, Cecilia Smith's vibes most assuredly at the helm in fine form.
Willard Jenkins, editor Ain't But a Few of Us (Duke University Press)

I love the way Cecilia Smith approaches Mary Lou Williams' legacy - not as fixed-in-stone and immutable (although her appreciation of Williams' history and her place in history is complete), not as an excuse for high-concept "reimagining" (although the "Sketch" and "Spiritual" tracks show an admirable sense of original thinking), but as an example of how a master's music and life can inspire the growth and expression of one of today's most personal artists. As has been the case throughout her career, Smith surrounds herself with peers completely in tune with her strong, centered concepts, showing once again that she is both a great musician and a great leader.
Bob Blumenthal, Jazz Journalist



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