Marian McPartland: Love For Sale
From Bossa Nova + Soul (Time, 1963)

Mary Lou Williams: Credo
From 7″ (Mary, 1970)

Today, we have two tracks from the first ladies of the piano.

Marian McPartland is a bad ass. She’s over 85 years old and I caught her at Yoshi’s last year and she was playing up a storm – lively, playful and utterly charming. This record was recorded 30 years back (30 years!) at the tender age of 55. Think about that for a minute – she was 55 in 1963. Crazy. Any ways, this is one of my favorite piano jazz albums, mostly on the strength of her cover of “Love For Sale”. While McPartland plays mostly acoustic for the rest of the album, on “Love For Sale”, she’s rocking a Wurlitzer electric piano – a sublime touch. The bossa rhythm on the song is smooth, understated which is similar to McPartland’s approach – it’s just one of those songs that ease you into the cut like some butter leather couch. Yummy.

Like McPartland, Mary Lou Williams has had a heralded career, especially as one of few female pianists of note during the be-bop era. I came upon “Credo” by accident – it’s a 45-only cut (a song by the same name appears on Mary Lou’s Mass but it’s different from this. Love. This. Track. It’s so laid back and soulful with its understated funky touches. I don’t know who’s playing bass on here but I raise a glass – he/she absolutely makes the song work alongside Wililams’ own fingerplay.