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Classically trained pianist and composer Michael Williams returns with his sophomore release Wet , a nicely varied set of modern jazz originals. Williams is truly forging his own highly original voice here, both in terms of composition and playing style; comparisons to other more familiar artists are hard to come by. The sound is primarily acoustic, albeit with electric guitar and bass. It's a nice blend of classic, contemporary, and Latin jazz, and you'll hear the influence of Williams' classical training at times as well. Williams has assembled a good supporting cast - a group with the rather odd name 1 40 4 20. They are versatile enough to handle all the different styles and unusual song structures that Williams throws their way, and turn in decent solos to boot. Guitarist Brian Levan and saxophonist Jonathan Moritz, in particular, impress.
Two guest stars lend their talents to broaden the group's reach. Saxophonist Bob Sheppard, who is highly in demand these days performing with Chick Corea, Joni Mitchell, and Steely Dan, enlivens "Black Lies" and the romantic "I've Cried My Last Tear." Violinist Harry Scorzo from the Latin group "Bongo Logic" expresses sensitivity on the ballad "Nocturne," then turns up the heat on the driving, fusionistic closer "Green Chrome."
Also check out the group's debut, Jazz Trespassers. (Pocket Jazz 86519 10022)
Track Listing: Wet; Chica de Ipanema; Solace; Bossa Pacifica; I've Cried My Last Tear; Jeux d'eau; Black Lies; Nocturne (in tango form); In Human Hands; Green Chrome. (46:13)
Personnel: Michael Williams - piano; Brian Levan - guitars; Marcus Konantz - bass; Dave Lotfi - drums; Jonathan Moritz, Bob Sheppard - saxophones; Harry Scorzo - violin; Ronnie Gutierrez - percussion.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...