Edward Kennedy Ellington once opined that there existed only two types of music— Good and Bad. This writer tends to be a bit more forgiving in amending Mr. Ellington's classes to read "Good and Better." It is from this vantagepoint that I approach Pamela Williams' new release, Evolution.
First and foremost, this disc will appeal to any contemporary jazz/R&B enthusiast. It is chock full of dancing rhythms, aggressive and provocative beats, and tons of Ms. Williams' slippery alto and soprano saxophones. Hook-filled and expertly produced, Evolution is a contemporary jazz dream. The engineering and production are perfect...perhaps a bit too perfect. The music sounds superb, particularly on surround-sound.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this music. It is safe and benignly infectious. Several of the cuts sport vocals, giving the pieces an almost adult contemporary feel. It is the perfect dinner music— unobtrusive and well behaved. Ms. Williams' entire package, from personal appearance to personal performance is well marketed and deserves whatever success it can muster.
Is this music good or better? You decide.
Track Listing: Lifetime; A Song For Pam; Placero; Evolution; Queen Of The Nile' The Dance; I Am Love; Smooth; Thinking About You; Cleopatra's Destiny' Poison; At The Concert; Vibrations 5ive Minutes; Lifeline (Pamela's Pulse) (Total Time: 68.54).
Personnel: Pamela Williams: Alto And Soprano Saxophones; And A Host Of Thousands.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.