INTUITION - Jessica Williams, solo piano and composer - A Record of the Year, critic's choice, in Jazz Journal International
1 Holocaust Blues (J Williams)
2 Heather (B Cobham)
3 Black and Crazy Blues (R Kirk)
4 Green Chimneys (Monk)
5 The Power of Love (J Williams)
6 Bill's Beauty (J Williams)
7 Medicine Woman (J Williams)
8 Monk's Dream (Monk)
9 Flamenco Sketches (Evans)
10 Without A Song
Total time- 69 min. Jessica Williams solo piano - Cover art by Elaine Arc
'Magnificent! A record of the year, not to be missed. All the superlatives are in order for this one.' -Pat Hawes, Jazz Journal International
'I have raved about her in the past, and I will continue to wax enthusiastic about her as long as she keeps making piano jazz recordings like this; yet another night dive into a dark pool to hit a new range of possibilities for solo piano. Because jazz is fundamentally a music of conversation between improvising musicians, this recording asks for attention. When a solo voice takes up the challenge of singing all the elements, you just have to sit up and take notice.' -Brian Brennan, Calgary Herald
'Something that gets overlooked in the constant rehash of the modern mainstream is that its formative voices were trying to get closer to roots, whether it was Silver and Timmons' emphasis on gospel sources, or Davis and Coltrane's emphasis on scales and modes. That value is explicit in Jessica Williams' playing which is pitched very close to the heart of Jazz piano, even when it's exploratory. It's her roots that make her forays into Monk and Evans so much more convincing than most current pianists. Highly recommended.' -Stuart Bloomer, Cadence Magazine
This is the fifth CD, and the second solo piano recording, by Jessica Williams to be released on the Jazz Focus label.
The first solo CD, Arrival has gained widespread critical acclaim - it was placed equal fourth among the best new releases of 1994 in the Jazz Journal International Critics Poll, and it was awarded 4 1|2 stars by DownBeat magazine.
Intuition finds Jessica taking her solo piano art even further along the creative path she has been pursuing during the 1990s- though her development can be traced right back to her very first LP, released in 1978.
The program on Intuition consists of a well chosen blend of Jessica's originals and some less often played standards. Starting with a starkly beautiful Williams original, Holocaust Blues, and proceeding to several other of her compositions as well as pieces by Billy Cobham, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Vincent Youmans, Jessica treats us to an extraordinary display of piano virtuosity.
It is small wonder that Pat Hawes, writing in the August, 1995, issue of Jazz Journal International, describes her as 'probably the finest improvising pianist in jazz today'. Intuition seems likely to provide further confirmation of this appraisal of Jessica's place in the contemporary jazz scene.
Review by PAT HAWES, Jazz Journal International
Intuition - Explorations In Music - Jessica Williams, solo piano. June 20|21, 1995 White Horse Studios, Portland Oregon; Jazz Focus JFCD 010
Jessica Williams has written her own notes for this stunning album, rightly subtitled Explorations In Music.
Four of the tunes are original compositions: Holocaust Blues, The Power Within, Bill's Beauty and Medicine Woman, and Jessica makes further voyages of discovery into the music of Roland Kirk (Black And Crazy Blues), Monk (Green Chimneys and Monk's Dream), Miles Davis (Flamenco Sketches, Billy Codham's (Heather) and, to finish, an almost straight but subtly reharmonized version of an old standard Without A Song from the pens of Vincent Youmans and Billy Rose.
Recorded over two days, there is a deeply introspective and thoughtful air about each performance. Anyone who heard Jessica live will be aware of the rapport she has with her audience and the intense emotional impact upon both artist and listeners.
Not for the first time where Jessica is concerned I am aware of the futility of trying to describe performances which are full of excitement, fun, great creativity and moments of rare beauty.
I can only suggest that (a) you rush to buy Intuition, and judge for yourself and (b; read and reread Jessica's notes, which give a real insight into the creative musical process.
A wonderful album of what Jessica has called the 'spontaneity of the moment'. Authentic jazz improvisation of the highest order, beautifully played in superb digital audio sound.
Magnificent! A record of the year, not to be missed. All the superlatives are in order for this one. -Pat Hawes, Jazz Journal International