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An evening out with the Jessica Williams trio is a pleasure never to be forgotten. Her interpretation of the songs we love keeps them near and dear to our hearts.
With Ray Drummond and Victor Lewis, the pianist rings true with a song selection fit for lovers of the straight-ahead scene. Her crisp articulation excites the intellect, while the swinging groove of her trio's animation provokes empathetic movement.
Williams introduces a lovely tune, explores its nuances briefly, and then proceeds to expound upon its natural affinity. As she moves all over the piece, she casually drops in a few outside quotes and steers the music through different moods.
Her dramatic "Tutu's Promise" tells a story. Like a suite, the piece moves through changing times. Its tension and release tugs at your heart. The pianist has put considerable dramatic feeling into this one. Gospel and blues give her audience plenty of power-packed emotion to carry home with them.
The recording setup has captured this session exquisitely. The audience at Yoshi's accepted the evening's program with conviviality and enthusiasm, but politely. No one wanted to miss a note. For this, we can be thankful. It's a live session. We can feel the spontaneity and creativity flowing naturally. As Williams embarks on an adventurous journey with each selection, we can feel the jazz tradition taking hold. Bass and drums trade fours, Drummond stretches out on a lyrical solo chorus, and Williams weaves a fluid tale of mainstream jazz. Highly recommended, this Volume One from a remarkable pianist lingers in our memory.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.