JESSICA'S BLUES - The Jessica Williams Quartet with Jay Thomas, tenor sax; Mel Brown, drums; Jeff Johnson, bass
1 Smoking Section
2 Chief Seattle Blues
3 Sneak Preview
4 See See Rider
5 Dat's For Nat
6 Blues For Bill
7 Baby, Won't You Please Come Home
8 Temporary Sanity
9 St Louis Blues
10 Raise Four
11 Blue Jay
Total time- 68:12 | Photos of Jessica Williams by Elaine Arc
Everybody is up with the blues throughout this album. As with every Jazz Focus album, audio quality is outstanding, playing time commendable."-Pat Hawes, Jazz Journal International
Review by PAT HAWES, Jazz Journal International
Should Jessica Williams ever give up playing piano (God forbid!), she would certainly have a bright future writing about jazz. I enjoy reading her liner notes almost as much as listening to the subsequent music.
Five of these selections are Williams compositions: Smoking Section, Chief Seattle Blues (in honour of the American Indians and Jessica's favourite city), Sneak Preview, Dats For Nat (Adderley) and Blues For Bill (Evans). Well aware of the roots of the blues, Jessica included a few oldies: See See Rider, St Louis Blues and a 1923 Clarence Williams blues song Baby, Won't You Please Come Home.
Jeff Johnson, a long serving, formidable bassist makes his recording debut on electric bass on Dat's For Nat. Johnson works particularly well with drummer Mel Brown, swinging, playing great time and following Jessica 'through every contortion'. Jay Thomas, who has also recorded under his own name for Jazz Focus, plays tenor sax and trumpet with equal facility and authority, and on occasion plays them 'simultaneously', through double tracking.
To my ears these performances demonstrate perfectly the infinite variety of the blues, sometimes in the minor tonality; everyone sounds at ease and convincing in the idiom. Smoking Section certainly comes in smoking, with whistle blasts from the piano player. Jessica, a long time Roland Kirk admirer, points out that Kirk had a whistle for every occasion, a facility which she hopes to emulate. She also explains that Kirk always disliked the expression 'get down with the blues', saying 'you get up with the blues--get up!'
Well, everybody is up with the blues throughout this album. As with every Jazz Focus album, audio quality is outstanding, playing time commendable. -Pat Hawes, JAZZ JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL, MAY 1999
Jessica's Blues Customer Review:
This album has all the ingredients that one might expect of a fabulous bluesy jazz recording. The music swings, weeps and laughs for you. Jessica and her band play together so well with Jay Thomas on tenor sax and trumpet, Jeff Johnson on bass and Mel Brown on drums. No-one has overtones: it is entirely harmonious. Jay's muted trumpet sounds like Miles Davis (on "Kind of Blue"), especially on number 6"Blues for Bill", which is a tribute to Bill Evans. This nostalgic song is one of the best jazz songs I ever heard. Light your candles, pour yourself a glass of wine, crank up the volume, start with #6 and dream away! Fabulous jazz! -March 6, 2004 -A music fan from Sammamish, WA United States