Jessica Williams

This Side Up


Jessica Williams, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; Victor Lewis

"This feels right," is what our spiritual chums murmur when something, well, feels right. And this is what one can only say about Jessica Williams moving to MAXJAZZ. Bruce Barth, no slouch himself at the piano, has again produced an excellent CD. Jessica Williams has recorded an almost disproportionate amount of solo albums. The solo form allows for a great deal of internal exploration, and the chance to give rein to a display of chops, dynamics and devices. It is therefore with a great deal of pleasure that we find our lady of the sorrows (re- her solo Bill Evans tribute) now part of a team.

Drummond and Lewis are two great pros who need no introduction to most listeners and they dig in behind Jessica with the sort of assurance that the lady needs to keep her from spiraling off into her own world. Jessica is one mean pianist and we hope she can form a lasting, creative relationship with a permanent trio - of the sort that Evans strove to achieve. This CD is more than a good start. The booklet tells us that all of the compositions are originals from the pianist. Her immense technique is on display, but, again, we are pleased that Drummond and Lewis are around to add the compulsive drive to simply swing. The groove on track 6, Miles To Go, is an illustration - after a hammering piano interlude the tension is broken and the release is felt as all three swing free.

Let's hope we get more of this kind of trio work. I keep hoping there will one day be a Bud Powell tribute. Thus, great trio Jazz that will disappoint nobody. Go get it!

by Lawrence Brazier


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