2

Bradley Williams, Eric Hochberg, and Jim Widlowski: 3

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Bradley Williams, Eric Hochberg, and Jim Widlowski: 3 Bradley Williams is a talented, resourceful jazz musician who, for two years in the mid-1980s, was pianist/arranger with Woody Herman's Thundering Herd. He settled in Chicago, becoming house pianist at the legendary Gold Star Sardine Bar. They called it that because it could take only 50 people, though such was its reputation that stars such as Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli performed there.

When the bar closed as a regular venue in 1997, Williams created The Original 21st Century Review, a modern jazz variety show that toured nationally and internationally, on one occasion jamming with former US president and occasional saxophonist Bill Clinton.

This album showcases Williams' abilities as pianist and composer. He is accompanied by two mainstays of the Chicago scene, bassist Eric Hochberg and drummer Jim Widlowski, in a program of original compositions: seven by himself, five by Hochberg.

In another age Williams would probably be writing music for musicals à la Cole Porter. Many of his songs have the structure and theatrical feel of show tunes. All are intelligent yet at the same time easy to listen to.

As a pianist, he combines some of the percussive flare of Ahmad Jamal, all while remaining very much his own man. His playing is soulful, yet shorn of sentimentality and—mercifully—totally lacking in pretension. He describes the music on this album as "kinda fun and interesting."

The lazily romantic "Twilight Prelude" sets the scene, calling to mind those old Busby Berkeley extravaganzas, though its structure is thoroughly modern.

It segues into the up-tempo, more overtly jazzy "Penultimatum" and the scene is set for a thoughtful, entertaining album. Hochberg's "The Garden," with its catchy chorus, Williams' bluesy "For Crowley" and the chunky "Clybourn Strut" are the standout tracks.

The quirky, melodic "Fish Samich" allows Widlowski to shine with some tasteful, understated drumming, ably supported by the two principals. "Waiting... Waiting..." is nicely pensive, though its theme comes round just a little too often for comfort.

The new mainstream at its very best.

Track Listing: Twilight Prelude; Penultimatum; The Garden; For Crowley; Fish Samich; In The Delta Valley; Waiting... Waiting...; little "e"; Before Fall; Clybourn Strut; Song For Sarah; Plumb Bob.

Personnel: Bradley Williams: piano; Eric Hochberg: bass; Jim Widlowski: drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: 21st Century Entertainment | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Windmills CD/LP/Track Review Windmills
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Ugly Beautiful CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Trickster CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Caipi CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 24, 2017
Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Return" CD/LP/Track Review Return
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "You'll Never Know" CD/LP/Track Review You'll Never Know
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Troy Collins
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder
by Doug Collette
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Secular Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Secular Hymns
by John Eyles
Published: September 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!