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Songs for a New Century

newSongs for a New Century (Grammy Nominee) - Jessica Williams, solo piano - This album is a bestseller. An Artist Favorite. A Major International Release on OriginArts - THIS ALBUM IS AVAILABLE: BUY
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1 Empathy (Jessica WIlliams)

2 Toshiko mp3 (Jessica WIlliams)

3 Fantasia (Jessica WIlliams)

4 Song for a Baby (Jessica WIlliams)

5 Blessing in Disguise (Sonny Rollins)

6 Lament (Jessica WIlliams)

7 Dear Oscar mp3 (Jessica WIlliams)

8 Spoken Softly (Jessica WIlliams)

9 If Only mp3 (Jessica WIlliams)

Total time: 1:00:57, all tracks recorded during the last 2 weeks of Jan 2008, direct to disc, 2-track stereo

Total time 59 minutes | All compositions by Jessica WIlliams published by JJW MUSIC ASCAP | Photos of Ms Williams by Chad McCullough, Origin Arts | Jessica Williams, solo piano, recorded in Jan 2008 | Jessica Williams' Liner Notes

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Reviews

All About Jazz (Dan McClenaghan) If you slip into Jessica Williams' web site and ride the currents of her blog, you could get the feeling that the (proudly) sixty year-old jazz pianist is something of an eccentric. Which is a good thing—in this case, an eccentric being one who has walked away from the hype, b.s. and group think with her head held high, coming up with her own take ...

Audiophile Audition (John Henry) This latest Jessica Williams CD is described as being recorded “direct to disc” which seems to be a similar technique to that employed on some Reference Records piano CDs - eliminating either the analog or digital tape step in the process. This is a quite different album from any of the many which one of the leading female keyboard jazz performs of...

All Music Guide (Adam Greenberg) She's a little bit late to release songs intended to kick off a new century, but Jessica Williams can be forgiven that as her music more than makes up for it. The album is actually titled as it is in celebration of Williams' emergence from a low time following the 9/11 attacks, and as such has a fairly upbeat tone throughout the proceedings. Aside ...

JazzTimes, July/August 2008 (Thomas Conrad) Songs For A New Century is an intensely personal real-time document. Jessica Williams composed all but one of the nine pieces, and recorded the album herself. She says in the liner notes that this solo album "is what I'm hearing and seeing now. ... This has been my life of late." It is about emerging from the grieving of the post-9/11 years ...

The Davis Enterprise (Ric Bang) Pianist Jessica Williams' newest album is, as fans have come to expect, another winner. This prolific artist - more than 40 releases, and still counting - has been at the top of the talent pool for nearly 50 years. Only a few musicians have achieved such longevity, and the amazing aspect is that she's better now than ever before.

All About Jazz (Thomas Conrad) It is hard to think of a jazz musician who has gone her own way more resolutely than pianist Jessica Williams. She works only on her own solo and trio projects, never as a sideperson. She engineers her own albums for her own label, Red and Blue, and sells them on her own website, which she designs and maintains herself. She plays only in the venues...

The Times Colonist (Joseph Blake) Like Oliver Jones, pianist Jessica Williams owes a large debt to Oscar Peterson. She acknowledges it with the gorgeous original, Dear Oscar, just one of the beautiful solo works on this collection. Williams unleashes all of her playful, adventurous power on a wide-ranging repertoire of originals and Sonny Rollins' seldom-played gem...

Downbeat, December 2008 (Robert Doerschuk) On Songs For A New Century (****) Jessica Williams proves that she excels in the solo format. These pieces may owe something to her decision to remove the music stand and fall-board, unfold the front part of the lid and lower the level of her seat. What matters more is the results of this tinkering, and while outside effects do crop up, such as the...

starstarstarstarstar from Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes, July/August 2008

Songs For A New Century is an intensely personal real-time document. Jessica Williams composed all but one of the nine pieces, and recorded the album herself. She says in the liner notes that this solo album "is what I'm hearing and seeing now ... This has been my life of late." It is about emerging from the grieving of the post-9/11 years and giving herself permission to hope again. (In musical terms, it is a broad transition from D minor to G major.)

More than most pianists, Williams understand how her instrument, treated properly, can be a direct conduit of emotion. She is technically sophisticated but no longer has any need to prove it. "If Only" is minimal in its chord movements and its melodic rise and fall. But Williams' subtle touch, sensitivity to tone production and soft, bright tremolos embody fragile hope. Another seemingly simple, quietly affirmational piece in G major is "Fantasia." It is a hovering suspension, with unceasingly solemn circular chords and a narrative that barely moves, but finally does move, inward, then upward.

In her articulate liner notes, Williams says of the album, "I feel that it's my best work so far in terms of clarity, focus, and depth of feeling." Artists are often wrong about such things. Not this time.

starstarstarstarstar from Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes, July/August 2008

 

starstarstarstarstar from Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide

She's a little bit late to release songs intended to kick off a new century, but Jessica Williams can be forgiven that as her music more than makes up for it. The album is actually titled as it is in celebration of Williams' emergence from a low time following the 9/11 attacks, and as such has a fairly upbeat tone throughout the proceedings. Aside from a stray Sonny Rollins composition (which Williams treats masterfully as a blues romp with some almost synth-like motifs thrown in), the compositions are all originals here, explorations of the interplay of sound and color (the color portion being a result of Williams' synesthesia). The album opens with "Empathy" in classic Williams form -- a heavy influence of Bill Evans present of course.

Using her own modifications to a piano, she then pulls the sparse sound of a steel-stringed koto out as an accompaniment in "Toshiko," but done without any other players or overdubs -- she's actually extending the sound of the piano itself. "Fantasia" comes across as classical, with hints of what may be "Ave Maria" threaded into its passages, and "Song for a Baby" is a simple run that switches between more Bill Evans chordal jazz and fast little Chick Corea-esque arpeggios. She stretches out with suggestions of stride piano in "Lament," and moves to a tribute to Oscar Peterson that reverently includes much of his style. The arpeggios come hot and heavy in "Spoken Softly," a bit of club-ready piano, and the album finishes out with a casual, sing-songy "If Only." Williams is arguably one of the greatest pianists around today, with outstanding versatility and breadth of compositional skill on top. This album easily sits as exhibit A of that argument.

starstarstarstarstar from Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide

 

starstarstarstarstarfrom Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

Song for a New Century | Jessica Williams | Origin Records (2008) By Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

If you slip into Jessica Williams' web site and ride the currents of her blog, you could get the feeling that the (proudly) sixty year-old jazz pianist is something of an eccentric. Which is a good thing - in this case, an eccentric being one who has walked away from the hype, b.s. and group think with her head held high, coming up with her own take on the world and this thing called life that we're trying to navigate with as much grace as possible. Her writings reveal a woman of exceptional grace and wide-ranging intelligence, and they also reveal a woman who just might get a wild hair idea and break out her tool kit - the screw drivers and the socket set - to take apart her piano and reassemble it in a fashion that is more to her liking. An eccentric.

Williams' Songs For A New Century, a solo piano outing, reveals an evolving artist. Williams thinks it may be her best work. A re-spin of her outstanding Live at Yoshi's, Volume One (MaxJazz, 2004) - a trio affair featuring bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Victor Lewis - spotlights an artist making beautiful sounds and taking beautiful risks within a mainstream framework, a piano player with the joyousness and flair of Erroll Garner, the swinging virtuosity of Oscar Peterson, the depth of emotion of Bill Evans, the sly pizazz of Fats Waller and the soul of John Coltrane.

Songs for a New Century is a step forward. The set of all Williams originals, and one Sonny Rollins tune - A Blessing in Disguise - opens with Empathy, an achingly beautiful ballad full of delicate, crystalline notes in a teardrop melody - a spiritually salubrious sound if there ever was one. Toshiko for pianist/big band leader Toshiko Akiyoshi, glows eastward sporting a Japanese aura, with Williams making koto sounds, via the tool kit lady's mechanical tweaking (?) of the piano strings. Dear Oscar, a nod to Oscar Peterson, swings easily on a bluesy late night roll, while Spoken Softly sounds like a gloriously implacable truth revealed.

Amazingly, Williams recorded this life-affirming set while wrapped in the life-draining, leaden embrace of hypothyroidism, when she had energy for her art and little else.

She is evolving; but multiple spins of this gorgeous music say that Williams must be very close to the absolute pinnacle of artistic growth on the enthralling Song for a New Century. With her diagnosis and subsequent management of her disease, who knows how far she can take her musical endeavors.

Track listing: Empathy; Toshiko; Fantasia; Song for a Baby; Blessing in Disguise; Lament; Dear Oscar; Spoken Softly; If Only

Personnel: Jessica Williams: piano. Style: Modern Jazz/Free Improvisation | Published: April 17, 2008

starstarstarstarstarfrom Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

 

starstarstarstar from John Henry, AUDIOPHILE

This latest Jessica Williams CD is described as being recorded “direct to disc” which seems to be a similar technique to that employed on some Reference Records piano CDs - eliminating either the analog or digital tape step in the process. This is a quite different album from any of the many which one of the leading female keyboard jazz performs of today has released.

All nine tracks are original by Williams, and they cover a wide range of emotions and styles. Her conservatory training is in evidence on Fantasia (she has been compared to Bill Evans and even Glenn Gould). On Toshiko - dedicated to bandleader-composer Toshiko Akiyoshi - she uses some prepared-piano tricks to get the sounds of Japanese folk instruments such as the koto and shamisen. Other tunes are tributes to the memory of Oscar Peterson and John Coltrane. The piano sound is very close up, very clean and precise, yet richly colored.  Working without the usual rhythm section is not easy for any pianist, but Williams appears to sail thru the challenges with flying colors.

TrackList: Empathy, Toshiko, Fantasia, Song for a Baby, Blessing in Disguise, Lament, Dear Oscar, Spoken Softly, If Only

Published on April 10, 2008

starstarstarstar from John Henry, AUDIOPHILE

 

starstarstarstarstar from Earshot Jazz - Chris Robinson

Jessica Williams new album, Songs for a New Century, is one of the few solo piano CDs that I enjoy and that holds my attention from start to finish. While I’m not sure why I don’t enjoy many solo piano records, even those from the masters, I do know why I enjoy Williams recent effort: each performance on this album is a mature statement in which nothing is wasted and where every note, phrase, and melody has meaning.

Through the course of eight originals and the rarely-heard Sonny Rollins composition Blessing in Disguise, Williams effectively uses a variety of pianistic approaches to create wide-ranging and individual music. The charming Fantasia is calming and relaxing, and it sounds as if it could be one of Robert Schumann's mid-19th-century parlor character pieces. Mentally and emotionally it takes me to the same place as many of Chopin’s Preludes. Toshiko not only has a strong and pretty melody, but Williams either prepared the piano, played inside it with some kind of pick, or both to craft an ethereal, exotic quality. At times it sounds like there is a small, quiet snare drum inside the piano. The juxtaposition of unaltered notes with both pitched and un-pitched altered notes creates thick textures, rhythmic and timbral complexity, and musical intrigue.

While the album is strong throughout, I found the most rewarding pieces to be “Toshiko,” “Fantasia,” “Song for a Baby,” and the album’s final track, “If Only,” which feature strong and singable melodies that can stand on their own.

Songs for a New Century is gorgeous, touching, swinging, and bluesy, and it is one of the best albums I’ve heard in 2008.

starstarstarstarstar from Earshot Jazz - Chris Robinson

 

starstarstarstarstar by Ric Bang, The Davis Enterprise

Pianist Jessica Williams' newest album is, as fans have come to expect, another winner.

This prolific artist - more than 40 releases, and still counting - has been at the top of the talent pool for nearly 50 years. Only a few musicians have achieved such longevity, and the amazing aspect is that she's better now than ever before.

In addition, Williams is more than a consummate pianist; she wrote all but one of the tunes in this solo piano release. The lone exception is Sonny Rollins' lesser-known "Blessings In Disguise," a soulful blues chart that Williams turns into a concert piece.

Her own tunes include three beautiful ballads ("Empathy," "Spoken Softly" and "If Only"); the Asian-tinged "Toshiko"; a "conservatory" - styled "Fantasia"; a lullaby with jazz overtones ("Song For A Baby"); "Lament," which has hints of the Aussie "Waltzing Matilda"; and a wonderful slow blues tribute to Oscar Peterson ("Dear Oscar").

All are done elegantly, but my favorite is "If Only," an absolutely gorgeous piece that grabs you by the throat.

The absence of any backup musicians forces the listener to focus completely on the solo artist. That can be quite a challenge for the performer; if the music isn't truly outstanding, the results can be boring.

But not to worry: Your attention won't waver from Williams. She's masterful.

Incidentally, the album liner notes - written by Williams - are informative, quite interesting and almost worth the price of the album alone.

starstarstarstarstar by Ric Bang, The Davis Enterprise

 

starstarstarstarstar Song for a New Century Taking It to a New Level

May 10, 2009 By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel "World Music Explorer"

From the first notes, you know that this is a Jessica Williams album, so unique is her style and approach to the piano. Yet the overall feeling of the album seems different, a more profound exploration than customary, as indicative by the very first track, Empathy, and later in Fantasia. Except for one track, all pieces are her own compositions. Here, then, is another sign of inspiration. The moods are more varied than usual, too, from seriousness to sweetness to funky fun to nostalgia. The composition Dear Oscar is outstanding in its capturing the essence of that master. Her new version of Toshiko, a compositon already introduced in her previous solo album, All Alone, was the only piece that bothered me. I wrote to Williams about it, how it seemed too contrived, affected in its koto mimicry. She was most proud of it, however; and I do applaud her applying the mechanics of the piano to achieve innovative sounds. Aside from this, the album is rich in musicianship. The entire keyboard from its most bass notes to the upper reaches provide high contrast, reminding us that the piano can be an orchestra. Jessica Williams continues to dazzle us with her innovation, her continual study of music as spiritual vehicle. As her last track, If Only, ends, there is a glow of satisfaction of an hour well spent. With Jessica Williams, the body may not dance but the heart soars. Dr Debra Jan Bibel, Music Critic, Artist

 

Reviews

itemMs. Williams: I hope this finds you well. An idle thought: If one were to imagine a list of the most beautiful musical passages ever divined (a foolhardy but pleasurable endeavor), one might conjure:

  • The adagietto movement from Mahler’s Symphony #5
  • Aaron Copeland’s Quiet City
  • Samuel Barber’s Canzonetta for oboe and strings
  • Bill Evans’ and Eddie Gomez’ one-take recording of Hi Lilli Hi Lilli Hi Lo
  • Sinatra’s (and Nelson Riddle’s) take of Jimmy Van Heusen’s Only The Lonely
  • And now one must add Jessica Williams’ If Only from Songs for a New Century.

Magnificent. Stirring beyond words. Thank you. I wish you (and all of us) peace and love in the New year. Stephen ___

itempost review

itemArtist's Review of this CD: starstarstarstarstar What hubris! But the music has such gravity. Such weight, such density. This is my art and I am in it and of it and surrounded by it. I hope that you will find many gifts in it. -JW

Press Release: Jessica Williams' newest album for Origin Arts, "Songs for a New Century", more than lives up to its proud title with 8 originals by Jessica Williams and one seldom-heard chestnut by Sonny Rollins. The music is as new as the 21st Century and quite unlike ANYTHING Ms Williams has committed to CD before: in a program that spans all of the emotions, from longing, sadness, wonder, and optimism, to melting love, there are times when one may wonder if it's "just a piano" they're hearing. On "Toshiko", she manages to coax the sounds of a Koto or a Shamisen out of the instrument, all without any overdubs. Her heart-breaking "Fantasia" is a strong reminder of  her extensive conservatory training and extraordinary touch, often compared to Bill Evans - and, more recently, to Glenn Gould - by JazzTimes critic Doug Ramsey. Still firmly rooted in her nearly 50 year love-affair with jazz, she offers her deeply-felt tribute to the memory of the great pianist Oscar Peterson, and rounds out the mesmerizing program with her original compositions containing soaring lines and rapid-fire sheets-of-sound that were inspired by the ground-breaking work of one of her strongest and earliest influences, saxophone giant John Coltrane.

Remembering that jazz has always embraced - if sometimes reluctantly - new forms, we're amazed at the sheer BREADTH of music presented here, all in a concentrated ONE hour of continuously stimulating and moving revelation. 

The recording sound is wide, resonant, and remarkably "present". Recorded on her new 7-foot concert grand piano on state-of-the-art recording equipment in her own home studio, without any constraints or time limitations, she has created something simultaneously beautiful AND ground-breaking, something that fully lives up to its name and its scope.

"Songs for a New Century" is an album of wonders, music so colorful and hypnotic that you'll see it as well as hear it! - OriginArts

Liner Notes by Jessica Williams

"Songs for a New Century" is what I'm hearing and seeing now, all the time, under the surface of everything I do or say or feel, every day. It's the undercurrent of my life. I feel that it's my best work so far in terms of clarity, focus, and depth of feeling. But then, I can never say that for sure, as I'm too close to it. I remember something that Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington said when asked which of his albums was his personal favorite: "The next one!"

Perhaps it's my favorite because of its optimistic tone. After September 11, 2001, the universal key of life for me and many others, at least those in tune with the laws of nature and physics, was D minor. I have a form of synesthesia, the not-uncommon ability to see colors when one hears sounds. The one color I saw that day was orange - exactly matching our Homeland Security's usual threat level, i.e. "code orange" - or yellow. F major is brown to me, and E minor has always looked red. A minor is blue-green, and C is a cream color. I've never been sure if others with synesthesia see these same colors but I suspect similarities.

There is no doubt that, existentially at least, 9-11 was an orange, D minor event. It looked that way to me. It sounded that way to me. Its place in my heart is coded in that color. I had never before thought that orange could be a color of unimaginable sadness and grief. But it stayed that way for me until quite recently. I suppose I was grieving, and not just for the victims and heroes of 9-11. I was grieving for America, for the very idea of America.

Pianistically, I've always gravitated to "open keys" with brilliant colors. If I were a painter, I would be considered a "colorist". I hear in primaries. B-flat or E-flat, while the keys of choice for many "jazz musicians", have never struck a chord in me. This is perhaps unusual because some of my main influences in American Classical Music (Jazz) have been saxophonists and trumpeters. Particularly John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

To be sure, there are pieces that I've written that belong in these keys, and so I have always let the music choose it's own key, just as I let the melody-line choose its own motion. Also, my art always cycles throughout every key and every color. But "my" keys are E, A, D, G, F, C, and their minor equivalents. E-flat minor does certainly sing, though, and D-flat major remains positively mellifluous to me.

These observations are generalizations, but I mention them here because they comprise the primary colors and keys of "Songs for a New Century".

And now, some years after "The Day the World Changed", I hear and sense and see and smell happiness and hope again. I am so very hopeful that our country becomes the dream it CAN be rather than the nightmare that still lurks in the shadows. This Music is my own very small but personally significant contribution to the re-building and re-fortification of that new America that most of us long for.

The "painting" still contains Orange, but not nearly as much. Now, G major is here! To me it is the color of the sky when it is sunny and cloudless. And earth-brown F major has returned, too, with patches of green, like grasses growing in a once-barren landscape.

G major is so much with me, which is a very good sign, and finds its joyous expression in two personal favorites rendered here: Fantasia and If Only. They are very new right now, and will remain in a state of becoming as long as I play them. The new that I'm hearing is so vastly different from the old, and the shift in thinking so profound, that it seemed like alien territory to me for awhile. But in many ways, it's full circle, back to my childhood, my years at Peabody Conservatory, and my youthful search for the creative center of my existence. This has been my life of late. It's the return to form in it's truest sense. It's still improvised, extemporized, and spontaneous, while relying almost entirely on emotional power, visceral content, and heartfelt longing. I can not explain the feeling I have while it's happening to me. It is like "automatic playing". It has to do with grace and intent and genuine amazement. I am amazed it is happening. I am hypnotized.

Take If Only for an example. Literally simple beyond belief, it could be played by any proficient third-year piano student. But the density, the gravity, the fulcrum of the piece is not it's melody or its chords: they're wonderful but not the center. The center is its raw emotion. Emotion of such intensity can only be expressed on an instrument that responds to the slightest variations and the smallest permutations of touch. Since touch and tone production have become so central to my playing, I should share a few discoveries that might contribute to someone's similar quests.

It has been noticed (and remarked upon, not always favorably) that I sit very low - a mere 16 inches off of the ground at last measurement, with a strong inclination to go even lower if my chair would only allow it - because I do not wish to push the keys down.

I neither wish to push the keys down or "strike" the keys. I want instead to pull the keys down, thus imparting an almost imperceptible weight - or gravity - to the sound each key can produce.

Likewise, I want to use my fingers for the strength or softness, the loudness or almost inaudible quietness, of each note. I NEVER use my upper arms and shoulders for "power" anymore. Older videos of me playing exasperate me. They are studies in awkwardness to me. The fingers have to lift higher to attain maximum expressivity, and this can't be easily done by sitting high up. When I sit on a piano bench these days I can not believe that I ever made any real music way up there!

And since I never read music (I do write it, very, very fast) because I believe that one can not have their ears and eyes fully focused and "on" at one time, I always remove the piano's music stand. I can't understand how anyone can possibly think that they might play to their optimum potential while reading a blueprint or a roadmap or a novel. If they don't know the music, and are reading it off of a page, how in the world can we be expected to believe in it when we hear it? Obviously the musician playing it can not even remember it, much less play it with total immersion!

Similarly, I remove the fall-board, that piece of wood that your fingers bump into sometimes, the piece of wood that comes down to meet the keys. With the fall-board off, you can play much closer to the fulcrum of the key. Even onto the unfinished wooden part of the key. And, amazingly (but not surprisingly when you think about it) the sounds one can get are inaccessible when the fall-board is left on. I have been accused of disassembling the piano before playing it. The truth is that, for me, those parts are superfluous - even impediments - to playing.

I also "lower the flap" on the hood. At full-stick, the piano looks longer, and that's nice for appearances, but the main reason is that the sound now has another foot-and-a-half to bounce off of, and it is deflected down around the player. I am very careful when I stand up so I don't knock myself out on the overhang.

And all three pedals are fundamental. necessary. Absolutely indispensable. The soft pedal is my friend. Some critics say I over-use it. That's their opinion and they're entitled to it. The middle pedal is for, among other things, those beautiful drones and single notes that ring out and hold while other staccato notes fly by with precision and clarity. The best-kept secret of the piano is the middle pedal. Its absence on some Bosendorfers is unforgivable!

These are not things I worked on or even consciously understood. They were things that just happened. The low chair was inspired first by a fascination with Glenn Gould. I wanted to try that. It worked. But it is different for me: I need a certain kind of back to that chair, and it needs to fit the curvature of my spine so that I can lift both legs out in front of me at times and simply fly, feet-first. There seems no speed-limit in this somewhat ridiculous posture, and I'm going to continue pursuing these unusual-looking activities for as long as they serve me. My present chair is a height-adjustable, swivel, armless office chair with a bit of padding for comfort. 16 inches is its lowest limit and that will be addressed on my next visit to Office Max.

The focusing of powerful feeling through such a stripped-down vehicle is breath-taking to me. I don't care if it sounds or looks like this or that, like so-and-so, like me or not like me. It is right because it allows and encourages my heart to beat in symphony with all of life, and pour forth like a river, unimpeded by fall-boards and high perches.

So here we are. It is NOW, no longer 9-11, and even if it's in D minor (as are three of these entries) it is pure joy and for this I am so grateful.

Intention:

Seeking Beauty and Truth in Music for the healing of people, for the healing of the self. MY self included. This is the intent of my Music now, as it is the intent of my very life. It must be clear and true and without the shackles of a tired and unhealthy past: the "hang", the promoter's greedy whims, the record producer's "brilliant" ideas, the critic's pompous decree, the rule of art by committee, and the general sense that being a Musician is somehow about being popular, accepted, approved of, and lauded by all.

That is no way to live. That is no way to make Art! There is no return in making billions of manic notes spin through the air like so many kernels of popped corn. That's exactly how I feel when I hear that kind of "music". I feel assaulted, I feel as if someone is hitting me with thousands of pieces of flying popcorn. It doesn't hurt, but it isn't pleasant, and it's a waste of time.

And of popcorn.

One lesson I've learned is directly from Star Wars' Yoda: "TRY, and you will not DO. There is no trying. There is only DO and NOT DO." All doing comes from love, and all love comes from a heart filled with peace. Conversely, all trying comes from the drive to compete, impress, and garner love. To get love we will usually always try, and we will usually always fail, because love is in one's heart, and letting it be free to speak and fly and soar is the only way to do anything creative. Setting it free is the wall and the obstacle we have to face. It is enormous. It is daunting. And when that is done, one must live with, and love, the results. It doesn't much matter what anyone critical or jaded or invested in reactionary thought-patterns will say or think.

It matters what a child will think, what a loved one will feel, what a stressed person will take away from it, what a sick person will get from it to help them heal themselves. It matters because we are human and frail and mortal, and that we will all, at the end, be the same ...as if we are not already... The Beatles said it on Abbey Road:

"And, in the end, the love you take
is equal to the love you make."

All of us have been changed by the events of our world, and the events of the past decade have left many of us off-balance, seeking deeper meaning in our life. Love is the answer - we know this - but our material world is not always kind to affairs of the heart. It doesn't matter, it can't matter to the true artist. We make art because it MUST be made. We play because it is our one reliable source of inexhaustible wonder. And we ALL must believe in love as a force, a force as real and as immutable and as universal as gravity or electromagnetism, because it is literally what binds the planet and its peoples together. It may not look like it sometimes, but we really do love each other. Otherwise, we'd be extinct by now!

Here is my Music now, at this very moment, with its strengths and its weaknesses - which I suppose are my strengths and weaknesses. This is a very transparent album, from me, to you. It pleases me most of the time, and I hope it pleases you. It also speaks to me of new ideas and things that need to be done next. It is one more step. I really hope you enjoy it. It IS for you, from the depth of my heart.

It's my way to finally start off this Century.

"Songs for a New Century"
1 Empathy (Jessica WIlliams, JJW MUSIC ASCAP)
2 Toshiko (Jessica WIlliams, JJW MUSIC ASCAP)
3 Fantasia (Jessica WIlliams, JJW MUSIC ASCAP)
4 Song for a Baby (Jessica WIlliams, JJW MUSIC ASCAP)
5 Blessing in Disguise (Sonny Rollins)
6 Lament (Jessica WIlliams, JJW MUSIC ASCAP)
7 Dear Oscar (Jessica WIlliams, JJW MUSIC ASCAP)
8 Spoken Softly (Jessica WIlliams, JJW MUSIC ASCAP)
9 If Only (Jessica WIlliams, JJW MUSIC ASCAP)
Total time: 1:00:57, recorded during the last 2 weeks of Jan 2008, direct to disc, 2-track stereo

 

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