All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

87

Jessica Williams Trio: Freedom Trane

Jeff Winbush By

Sign in to view read count
It is no coincidence that pianist Jessica Williams draws inspiration and energy from saxophonist John Coltrane, another iconoclast whose dogged pursuit of his individalistic muse stood in defiance of trends, customs, critics, and marketplace concerns. Like Coltrane, Williams prides herself in being relentlessly faithful to her own standards of how to play and how to market her music. While that enables her to be a fiercely independent talent, it has also made her an underrated one.

On her solo piano outings, such as The Art of the Piano (Origin Records, 2009), Williams' playing is engaging while remaining serious and cerebral. Augmented on Freedom Trane by bassist Dave Captein and drummer Mel Brown, Williams shows off her ability to swing. Never loosing her impeccable sense of taste, Williams is downright frisky and playful on Coltrane and Sonny Rollins' "Paul's Pal" and, on the title track, she's bopping and grooving hard with Brown's timekeeping, which is right in the pocket. It's the sort of tune that demands another listen just as soon as it's over.

As a soloist in the trio format, Williams is simply incandescent and the musicians synchronize like a well-tuned machine. Freedom Trane is a homage to Coltrane's seminal A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965), but Williams' goal is not to emulate what Trane, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones did in 1964, but to expand upon it. "Prayer and Meditation," one of four Williams originals, fits comfortably with a lovingly rendered interpretation of Coltrane's "Naima," where the Steinway 'B' gently caresses like a warm touch. The lush and verdant "Welcome" closes out this super session.

Williams reveals in the liner notes how Coltrane speaks to her as she writes:
John speaks through his horn: "no road is an easy one, but they all go back to God." God, for me, is us, all of us and everything; it's the sea and the sky and the stars. We are star-stuff, we are one vibration in a standing wave, and it doesn't matter if it's called God or Allah or Aum or Chi or Orgone. It's gravity and light-years and galaxies colliding and little kittens kittening and bodily love and that chill you get when you listen to great music or see a great painting or hear the sounds of the forest.


Maybe not everything Williams says scans completely, but it's possible to hear her making her way on a spiritual journey, and Freedom Trane provides that special sort of chill that comes from hearing great music—and this is most definitely great music, made by a great (and sadly underrated artist). This is a high quality and highly recommended performance by Williams, a consummate musician of astonishing grace, passion and skill.

Track Listing: The Seeker; Lonnie's Lament; Freedom Trane; Paul's Pal; Prayer and Meditation; Just Words; Naima; Welcome

Personnel: Jessica Williams: piano; Dave Captein: bass; Mel Brown: drums

Title: Freedom Trane | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Origin Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Paradise of Love

Paradise of Love

Jessica Williams
With Love

Poem

Poem

Jessica Williams
Songs of Earth

The Seeker

The Seeker

Jessica Williams
Freedom Trane

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

Jessica Williams
Touch

Prophets

Prophets

Jessica Williams
The Art of the Piano

Tadd's Delight

Tadd's Delight

Jessica Williams
Now!

Wise One

Wise One

Jessica Williams
Prophets

Empathy

Empathy

Jessica Williams
Songs for a New Century

Vital Signs

Vital Signs

Jessica Williams
Vital Signs

Blues For BT

Blues For BT

Jessica Williams
Billy's Theme

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Interviews
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
With Love

With Love

Origin Records
2014

buy
Songs of Earth

Songs of Earth

Origin Records
2012

buy
Freedom Trane

Freedom Trane

Origin Records
2012

buy
Jessica Williams: Freedom Trane

Jessica Williams:...

Origin Records
2011

buy
The Art of the Piano

The Art of the Piano

Origin Records
2010

buy
Jessica Williams: Touch

Jessica Williams:...

Origin Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "After Bach" CD/LP/Track Review After Bach
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 2, 2018
Read "In The Green Castle" CD/LP/Track Review In The Green Castle
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 6, 2017
Read "Cubafrobeat" CD/LP/Track Review Cubafrobeat
by Chris May
Published: August 12, 2018
Read "North Greenbush Blues" CD/LP/Track Review North Greenbush Blues
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 31, 2018
Read "Phrases" CD/LP/Track Review Phrases
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 12, 2018