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Jeff Williams: Another Time (2011)

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Jeff Williams: Another Time How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The catch-all term "playing time" is often used as a descriptor for drummers that find a steady, supportive pattern and play it ad infinitum, whether to the benefit or detriment of a band, but that definition has always been limiting. Drummer Jeff Williams, for example, has and plays impeccable time, but he paints around the lines and shifts patterns to accent and highlight what's happening in the music at any given moment. He's the rare drummer who understands and conceptualizes time as something beyond the standard "spang-a-lang" status quo, and this ideal comes to the fore with Another Time.

While Williams has been an important voice on the jazz scene for four decades, he's always managed to stay slightly under the radar because his credits have often marked him as a supporting player rather than a leader. Williams secured his place in jazz history as a founding member of the far-reaching band Lookout Farm in the early '70s, and racked up an impressive list of sideman credits in the decades that followed. He has constantly been called upon to provide backing for left-leaning artists-in-the-know, like fellow Lookout Farm members Dave Liebman
Dave Liebman
Dave Liebman
b.1946
saxophone
and Richie Beirach
Richie Beirach
Richie Beirach
b.1947
piano
, pianist Richard Sussman, the legendary Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
b.1927
sax, alto
, and saxophonist Bill McHenry
Bill McHenry
Bill McHenry

saxophone
, but Williams has only stepped out on his own on relatively few occasions over the past two decades.

For this, the first record released under his name in the new millennium, Williams brought together a piano-less quartet that occasionally leans on the sound of early Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
("Search Me"), but isn't handcuffed to any single influence. Williams penned five of the eight pieces on the album, with each of his band mates contributing one song each to round out the program, and he brings different artistic elements into the mix on each number. "Fez" marries Coleman's ideals with Middle Eastern sounds—a la John Zorn
John Zorn
John Zorn
b.1953
sax, alto
's Masada—and the title track begins without drums, with some buzzing arco work from bassist John Hébert underscoring the horn lines of trumpeter Duane Eubanks
Duane Eubanks
Duane Eubanks
b.1969
trumpet
and alto saxophonist John O'Gallagher
John O'Gallagher
John O'Gallagher
b.1964
sax, alto
. Elsewhere, Williams shifts the sands of time from slow and dirge-like to spirited and snappy ("Purple, Blue And Red"), shines a spotlight on Hébert sans band ("She Can't Be A Spy"), and gives plenty of solo space to the fine horn players he employs.

While Another Time is another clear indicator of Williams' drumming talents, it also serves as a fine display of his skills as a composer. One can only hope that he doesn't wait so long to release his next disc.


Track Listing: Search Me; She Can't Be A Spy; Double Life; Purple, Blue And Red; Fez; Under The Radar; Go Where You're Watching; Another Time.

Personnel: Jeff Williams: drums; Duane Eubanks: trumpet; John O'Gallagher: alto saxophone; John Hébert: bass.

Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd

Style: Modern Jazz


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