Jessica Williams is a no-nonsense person. You can hear this in conversation with her, you can feel this from her liner notes and you can sense it from her music. The attitude stems not only from confidence but also with being comfortable with her craft, something that leaps out each time you listen to her music.
In writing the notes to this record, Williams makes several pertinent points. One is that the tradition in her music will not go away while it grows and changes all the time. Who could argue when the results are as electrifying as they are here?
Williams builds several sonic layers enveloping each in reverberating passion. She has able mates in Dave Captein and Mel Brown who are pivotal in adding to the dialogue. Together they move like one well-oiled machine.
The title tune unfurls slow and sensual with Scott Hall getting his tenor into the thick of the melody before Williams traces the evolution with lines that dance lithely through a becoming tempo shift. Hall is also featured on "Everything Happens To Me" which flows like a gentle stream. It is at once peaceful and meditative.
"Blues 2K" comes out swinging. Williams shapes the progression aggressively on a hot bed of melody all the while propelled by Brown and Captein taking this one right into the metier of excitement. The tempo slows down for "Kenny Kirkland". The tribute to the late pianist is a lyrical and heartfelt testimony. At the end of it all, there is one definite manifestation: this album says a lot and says it eloquently.
Track Listing: Blue Fire; The Vision; Soul Sister; Somebody's Waltz; Blues 2K; Kenny Kirkland; Elbow Room; Everything Happens To Me
Personnel: Jessica Williams: Piano; Dave Captein: Acoustic bass; Mel Brown: Drums; Scott Hall: Tenor saxophone (Tracks 1 and 8)
Title: Blue Fire
| Year Released: 2001
| Record Label: Jazz Focus Records