2

Bradley Williams, Eric Hochberg, and Jim Widlowski: 3

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
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 The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Wish You Were Here" CD/LP/Track Review Wish You Were Here
by Jim Olin
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "The Things We Did Last Summer" CD/LP/Track Review The Things We Did Last Summer
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Burnt Hibiscus" CD/LP/Track Review Burnt Hibiscus
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "I Believe In You" CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Zentuary" CD/LP/Track Review Zentuary
by John Kelman
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Post Bop Gypsies" CD/LP/Track Review Post Bop Gypsies
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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