Mark Armstrong director
Zoe Rahman guest pianist
RCM Jazz Orchestra
Mary Lou Williams (arr Laura Jurd) Zodiac Suite
Zoe Rahman Selected works
In memory of Mary Purcell Cosgrave
Mary Lou Williams (1910–1981) is often described as the first female jazz composer. Although she wrote hundreds of pieces, her work is unjustly overlooked, despite being performed by Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. A musical prodigy, she played piano with Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington. Written in 1945, Zodiac Suite is a 12-piece work with each movement representing a sign of the zodiac and dedicated to colleagues Williams performed with. It is orchestral in style, allowing RCM musicians to showcase their skills and develop their talent in performing jazz.
In the second half our guest soloist Zoe Rahman performs her own compositions reflecting her classical background and British and Bengali heritage.