Sweet Sister Suite was specially commissioned by the SNJO in 1997 and composed by
Sweet Sister Suite was specially commissioned by the SNJO in 1997 and composed by the late Kenny Wheeler with parts for trumpet and voice alongside improvised elements from other orchestra members. The SNJO are delighted to perform this wonderful music again with award winning trumpet player, Laura Jurd and singer Irini Arabatzis and to contrast it completely with music by one of the most admired and respected women in jazz history: Mary Lou Williams.
Kenny Wheeler (b. 1930) was a Canadian composer and trumpet player, based in the U.K. from the ‘50s. A major figure in modern jazz, his reticent nature belied the touch of chaos present in his lyrical compositions. A critic remarked: “Few important musicians have made more noise with less fuss”.
Mary Lou Williams (b.1910) was one of the first successful women in jazz. Known as “the first lady of the jazz keyboard”. She was an American jazz pianist, who composed and arranged hundreds of scores and recorded >100 records. She wrote for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman and was friend, mentor, and teacher to Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie.
These concerts contrast two different kinds of jazz demonstrating continuity of the form and its startling capacity for reinvention. Wheeler and Williams were career jazz musicians who belonged to quite different eras but they both created jazz music with purpose, vision and emotional resonance that marked their respective jazz times.
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