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.

Title: 3 | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: 21st Century Entertainment


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "Close Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Close Enough
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter...
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "A Zoology of the Future" CD/LP/Track Review A Zoology of the Future
by John Sharpe
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011" CD/LP/Track Review 3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Energy - Saul Losada" CD/LP/Track Review Energy - Saul Losada
by Paul Naser
Published: March 15, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.