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District Jazz

Ben Williams: Washington, DC, April 15, 2011

By Published: May 2, 2011
Speaking about the tune, Williams explained that he had always been attracted to it. "It has a very somber mood. The music itself, if I could describe it in a color, it would be indigo, very melancholy, very introspective... It is one of my favorite songs by [Goapele] and she is one of my favorite artists, and I have always been in love with it, and I just wanted to play it."

Williams then closed out the night with the explosive "Mr. Dynamite." A tribute to the "godfather of soul," James Brown
James Brown
James Brown
1933 - 2006
, the tune's big, bold rhythms, clever turns, and free-spirited delivery aptly encapsulated the nature of Williams' band, which in his own words "is fun, it's funky, it's swinging, it's pretty diverse—it's great. Turn it up!"

Williams' career is clearly only just beginning, and this concert suggested he and his band are dedicated to exploring the many corners of not just jazz, but a wide spectrum of musical sources. "We have a similar concept towards music where we are respecting the tradition, but at the same time, we play like young people, we are representing what is going on now," explained Williams. "We are not afraid to keep it moving."

That sense of movement at the heart of Williams' KC performance leaves the listener with a strong impression. All five musicians played without fear or restraint, barreling ahead with a delight that kept the music light, fresh, and appealing. It will be interesting to see what direction Williams and his crew move in next.

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