Jessica Williams, solo piano
Indeed, after a recent trio date with the incomparable MAXJAZZ, Ms Williams is again all alone. 'Shame,' we thought. On the other hand, this set justifies the retreat into solitude. Dragging "As Time Goes By" out of the woodwork may well have been dodgy prospect, but this version is as good as it gets and any risk of overdoing the mush is curtailed by some very creative rambling around the melody. What is noticeable is that for someone with chops in abundance, the customary dazzle is missing. Not that we are complaining. Perhaps Ms Williams has found a home at MAXJAZZ and the delightful delicacy heard here is an expression of grateful satisfaction, for the feeling communicated is of transcendence. Nothing mystical, mind! Here is a sort of serene, secret smile, above-it-all pleasure. The tunes are all well known, and there are four originals. Much of the material is approached with an ambling left hand enhancing a dancing right. "Too Young To Go Steady" at first heads dangerously in the direction of Keith Jarrett's version, but Ms Williams caught herself in time and her own efforts showed subsequently to be as equally appealing. Of the fistful of Jessica Williams CDs on our racks, this one is likely to become our favorite. Highly recommended!
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