One of the great pianists in jazz history, composer/arranger Mary Lou Williams is a cornerstone figure in the modernist movement, and her important body of work deserves much wider recognition. Smithsonian Folkways is doing its part by reissuing Williams's DIY recordings Zoning, Black Christ Of The Andes, Zodiac Suite and most recently Mary Lou's Mass. What began as a simple prayer for peace in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King evolved into a liturgical jazz masterwork that is surely one of the dopest albums ever conceived in the name of Catholicism, right up there with the Sarah Vaughan sings Pope John Paul II concept album The Planet Is Alive... Let It Live! But don't be put off by the religious subtext. This is genuinely uplifting music that's simply too good to miss.