All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Extended Analysis

170

Jessica Williams: Jessica Williams: Freedom Trane

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Jessica Williams

Freedom Trane

Origin Records

2011

Jessica Williams, one of our top jazz pianists, has evolved since she tossed the record company expectations and jazz games out the window into the thorny rose bushes, and sought out her own way, and found it, via the establishment of her own record label, Blue & Red Records, and with the work she has done for Seattle's Origin Records. Songs for a New Century (Origin Records, 2008), and her tribute discs exploring the works of pianists Thelonious Monk, Deep Monk (Blue & Red Records, 2008), and Art Tatum, Tatum's Ultimatum (Red and Blue Records, 2008), signaled the incoming tide of change, her shift into a different dimension.

Back in the homage mode, Freedom Trane is Williams' reverent nod to the saxophonist John Coltrane. All of the previously mentioned recordings were solo outings, but the pianist gets back to trio format here, a territory she has explored in her own inimitable way, but never so well as she does with bassist Dave Captein and drummer Mel Brown, her most simpatico trio-mates since her work with bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Victor Lewis on Live at Yoshi's, Volume 1 (MaxJazz, 2004) and Volume 2 (MaxJazz, 2005).

Coltrane was a spiritual seeker. That was obvious with his contribution to trumpeter Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (Columbia Records, 1959), but much more so during his 1960s Impulse! label years. He was looking for God with his saxophone, and if he didn't find It, he came awfully close. Williams captures the essence of his spiritual quest and—with her enormous technical proficiency married to a flexible devil-may-care spontaneity, and an unmatched ability to get inside another artist's sound to push it forward with her own musical world view—has created the finest of Coltrane tributes.

Mixing Coltrane originals with her own compositions, Williams opens with her original, "The Seeker." A thunder rumble of drums leads into a majestically swirling sea of piano notes that flows into a current of forward momentum reminiscent of a Coltrane's classic Impulse! rhythm section, the pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison trinity, with Williams displaying a warp-speed, lighter-than-air right hand that floats delicate notes over a dense hard gravity attack of her left hand.

"Lonnie's Lament," is from the saxophonist's Crescent (Impulse!, 1964), one of his rather underrated albums, due in part because it came the same year as his masterpiece, A Love Supreme (Impulse!). It is a timeless sound, from Coltrane's classic quartet or from Williams' hands, as it becomes increasingly obvious that nobody out there can capture the very soul the iconic saxophonist as well as she.

The Williams-penned title tune is the set's high-heat cooker, and is the "jazziest" tune here, while "Paul's Pal," co-written by Coltrane and fellow saxophonist Sonny Rollins, struts along with its hat cocked at a rakish angle, a wry grin on its face.

Williams' "Prayer and Meditation" serves as a centerpiece to the CD, as it delves deeply into mid-1960s Coltrane spirituality as a Williams/Coltrane marriage of pensive, unadulterated beauty, before the pianist joins hands with "Naima," from Coltrane's breakout album, Giant Steps (Atlantic Records, 1960).

Williams ends the evening with Coltrane's impossibly gorgeous "Welcome," a solemn, holy, gentle, lush sound, like so much of what the pianist has been creating since she found her true voice.

Tracks: 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: Jessica Williams: Freedom Trane | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Origin Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

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 Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 Extended Analysis
Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Love, Gloom, Cash, Love Extended Analysis
Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Motel Shot: Expanded Edition Extended Analysis
Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead Motion Picture Soundtrack Extended Analysis
Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead...
by Doug Collette
Published: July 14, 2017
Read Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition Extended Analysis
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Deluxe Edition Extended Analysis
Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981" Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Motel Shot: Expanded Edition" Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Love, Gloom, Cash, Love" Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition" Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below" Live Reviews Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Five on Cellar Live" Bailey's Bundles Five on Cellar Live
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "Linley Hamilton: Strings Attached" Interviews Linley Hamilton: Strings Attached
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 17, 2018
Read "Grace Kelly: Free From Boundaries" Interviews Grace Kelly: Free From Boundaries
by Doug Hall
Published: January 27, 2018
Read "Tigran Hamasyan "Atmosphères" Quartet at Mittelfest" In Pictures Tigran Hamasyan "Atmosphères" Quartet at...
by Luca Vitali
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Joy" Mixcloud Joy
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: February 15, 2018