LIVE AT THE SEASONS - JESSICA WILLIAMS, Live at the Seasons Preformance Hall: Jessica Williams, solo piano, live in concert. Liner notes by Doug Ramsey. Released on The Seasons label. Produced by Jessica Williams, Executive Producer Pat Strosahl - THIS ALBUM IS AVAILABLE: BUY
1 Black Tears* - Jessica Williams
2 My Romance - Rodgers & Hart
3 Blues for Bill* - Jessica Williams
4 Alone Together - Schwartz/Dietz
5 Afro-Blue - Mongo Santamaria
6 What's New - Haggart
7 Dark One* - Jessica Williams
8 Easy to Remember - Rodgers & Hart
9 Love and Hate* - Jessica Williams
Liner Notes by Doug Ramsey. Cover photo by Tom Westerlin. Mixed by Jim Bruner, and released on The Seasons label. Produced by Jessica Williams, Executive Producer Pat Strosahl. Total Time, 1:09 *Compositions by JJW MUSIC / ASCAP
Liner Notes by Doug Ramsey (@)
The most important creative artists rarely remain at rest. They explore and grow. The piano master Jessica Williams is touched by emerging musical currents in the world. This concert in the acoustic marvel of The Seasons Performance Hall finds her melding new muses with the modern mainstream jazz that has informed her work for four decades.
In the standard songs she plays here, we hear the wizard of melodic invention, harmonic resourcefulness, authority and flexibility of rhythm who has delighted a huge following of listeners over the years. Those attributes are gloriously evident in her blues tribute to Bill Evans in which, it should be noted, she does not resort to the obvious device of imitating Evans. For delicacy of touch and subtlety of conception, we have My Romance and Easy to Remember. For the sheer exuberant joy of complex invention, Ms. Williams gives us an Alone Together with echoes of J.S. Bach, Bud Powell and Lennie Tristano. She makes of What's New a rhapsody, in the Oxford Dictionary of Music sense of a "composition in one continuous movement, often based on popular, national or folk melodies."
In Mongo Santamaria's Afro Blue, Jessica reaches across cultures to evoke not only the passion and rhythms of Afro-Cuban music but also the grandeur of Spain, the other half of the island's musical heritage. Following an ecstatic free opening passage, she reaches into the piano and employs the strings to make a clave, setting irrrestible dance time that carries the piece through to the end.
Miles Davis was the inspiration for Dark One. The piece is not a direct reflection of Davis’s style - or styles - but of the thoughts and emotions he stimulates, and of his vision in opening jazz to new approaches, new influences, new thinking. Jessica says that Black Tears expresses "Infinite sadness for America, my country, and the troops in Iraq. I'm not political. This isn't anti-war. It's pro-troop." The piece does not require a current events touchstone to move the listener with its gravity.
Jessica describes Love and Hate as "my step into the next zone." Any fears that the zone may be an unreachable distance from her origins should be allayed by the piece's commanding rhythm, deeply textured chords and riveting continuity of line. Jessica Williams feels compelled to scout new territory. Love and Hate indicates rewarding adventures as she moves ahead.
- Doug Ramsey, highly-respected author and music critic. See his informative and well-maintained blog, RiffTides
About The Seasons Performance Hall
The Seasons Performance Hall is a former Christian Science Church in Yakima, Washington, a medium-sized city in the bountiful agricultural land east of the Cascade Mountains. The building was purchased by the Strosahl family to fulfill the dream of their matriarch, Joyce Strosahl, to give Yakima an auditorium that would be home to the highest quality music. The hall's acoustical properties have been judged among the finest in the world. Since its opening in the fall of 2005, The Seasons has presented leading performers in jazz, classical chamber music and the Latin field, plus a scattering of blues, gospel and folk musicians.
The Seasons roster of prominent artists includes Jessica Williams, Bill Mays, Tierney Sutton, Miguel Zenon, the Finisterra Trio, Robert Plano, Kenny Barron, Delfeayo Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Kristin Korb, Meredith d'Ambrosio, Karin Allyson, Floyd Standifer, Taj Mahal, Mose Allison and the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Operating as a nonprofit foundation, The Seasons is supported in part by ticket sales and to a great extent by contributions and grants from patrons, businesses and community organizations. The Seasons presents individual concerts as well as spring and fall musical festivals.