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Live at Yoshi’s, Vol. 1 by Jessica Williams

Live at Yoshi's, Vol. 1 by Jessica Williams

Album Review

Jessica Williams is a swinging jazz pianist and a fine composer. Her recordings showcase her gifts as a jazz technician of rare facility to be sure, but she also possesses the soul of a poet: her playing is deeply expressive and wildly creative. Live at Yoshi’s, Vol. 1 was recorded over a two-night run at San Francisco’s venerated jazz club in 2003. Williams is accompanied by her brilliant rhythm section: bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Victor Lewis. The sensitive and motivational interplay between the members of this trio is breathtaking throughout. Drummond and Lewis do not merely provide support for Williams, they offer an exceptional and innovative rhythmic bridge for her fleet harmonic and dynamic flights. The nine cuts played here include standards like Loesser and McHugh’s “Say It Over and Over Again” and Billy Eckstine’s “I Want to Talk About You,” all of them played as if they were written specifically for this band. Along the way are many surprises. Take, for example, her “Tutu’s Promise,” with its tight, funky intro that struts its way into untried soul-jazz territory, referencing Bobby Timmons, Horace…




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