LIVE AT YOSHI'S Vol 1 - Jessica Williams, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; Victor Lewis, drums, on Maxjazz Records - ALBUM AVAILABLE - BUY HERE
1 I'm Confessin' That I Love You - Dougherty
2 Say It Over and Over Again - Loesser, McHugh
3 You Say you Care - Robin, Styne
4 Tutu's Promise full-length - Jessica Williams
5 Heather full-length - Billy Cobham
6 Alone Together - Dietz, Schwartz
7 Poem in G Minor - Jessica Williams
8 I Want to Talk About You - Eckstine, Anne-Rachel
9 Mysterioso - Monk
Total time- 62:05 - Jessica Williams, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; Victor Lewis, drums; recorded July 9 and 10, 2003 at Yoshi's Nightspot in Oakland, CA in front of a live audience for Maxjazz Records. This album is a 2004 Grammy Nominee, for best instrumental jazz cd
Artist's Review of this CD:
I just received Jessica Williams at Yoshi's, Volume One. Wow wow wow!!! This is a GREAT album. Her previous two on MaxJazz were great, but this new one should go on the list of ALL-TIME GREAT PIANO ALBUMS IN THE HISTORY OF JAZZ. No exaggeration. This is landmark album. We'll start playing it next week. I can't wait for Volume Two! -Mark Shapiro, KWRF Santa Monica, CA
If Keith Jarrett is jazz's great epic poet, Jessica Williams may be the great living lyric poet of the jazz keyboard. She is utterly magnificent. Her trio-mates - bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Victor Lewis - are audibly delighted to be playing her music. -Jeff Simon, Buffalo.com | read entire review
When the Jessica Williams Trio plays Yoshi's this weekend, it will look like there're just three musicians on-stage, but close your eyes and you may hear a modern jazz pantheon. Among the most lyrical and expressive pianists in jazz, Williams has come together in recent years with bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Victor Lewis to create a superlative trio that draws inspiration from the music's giants. -Andrew Gilbert, Contra Costa Times | read entire review
To my mind Live at Yoshi's Volume One is Jessica Williams finest effort to date. She is simply a pianistic force of nature that will not be denied. As with her previous, releases, This Jessica Williams offering will have a place on my best-of-the-year list. -C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz | read entire review
Dear Jessica, I got your new CD this week and I'm writing a review for a Swiss jazz journal: wonderful! The best trio recording of 2004 - I get trio's CDs from around the world, including Japan. Your own creativity is superb and the rhythmic very good and tasteful too. Best regards, Michel Bader
Here is a player every jazz musician respects. Her sense of melody, combined with an ingrained adventurous streak within the structure of the songs, makes for one of the most listenable and complete players. Williams' touch on the keyboard makes ballads like 'Say it Over and Over Again' shine with a soft luster. The disc also shows Williams' diversity as both a player and composer. Her 'Tutu's Promise' is a rhythmic creeper, sparse and intense. Backed by bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Victor Lewis, Williams is at her best and no doubt the crowd at the Bay Area club were mesmerized by the concert. She draws out the depths of the piano, courting the lower end on Billy Cobham's sensual 'Heather,' and taking in the full range on 'Alone Together.' A fine live disc not marred by crowd noises and bad sound. -Jazz Society of Oregon
With Live At Yoshi's: Volume One, Jessica Williams has documented her ability to entrance an audience in a nightclub setting, and she has added one more setting to her growing string of MAXJAZZ releases that capture her emphasis on the richness of her sound and the her no-nonsense ability to craft new forms from the raw material of the songs that she plays with her trio. -Don Williamson | read entire review
All Critic's Reviews: In the review archives (too numerous to reproduce here)
Artist's Review of this CD:
Dear Jessica, I received the CD's I ordered (Live At Yoshi's, Volume One and Red and Blue) today in the mail. I can't tell you how happy I was to come home and find that yellow package waiting for me this evening. After dealing with soggy Atlanta traffic in the aftermath of Frances, it has been so enjoyable to sit back and let the music fill the room. Mysterioso swings along as I type this.
I guess you should know that I have not bought an audio CD since sometime in 2001. It isn't that I haven't been inspired to buy music, but I haven't been very happy with the state of affairs in music recently. Copying. Sharing. Suing. Encrypting. Attacking. With this mad frenzy to resist change brought about by advancements in technology, it seemed to me that everyone was missing the point and destroying the intimacy of music in the process of defending a dying business model. I've always held that it is an incontrovertible truth that music is always a personal relationship between the musician and the listener.
So, when I heard Heather (from Yoshi's) on WEMU-FM (Ypsilanti, MI, via iTunes radio), I went to your website. After reading your concert scheduling page as well as the information about you and your music, and listening to that amazing Fresh Air interview, I had to order some CDs.
You have secured my faith that, even with all the hurdles that seem to pop up now and again, artists can still connect with people who love their music. I know it takes a lot of energy to do nowadays, but it's truly heartening to see someone making the effort to 'keep it real'...
So, I guess what I'm saying is 'Thank you for being you.' It shows through in your recordings and interviews. Thank you for sharing your music with me -- it's made me very happy. I'm definitely pulling for that Grammy and I'll definitely be ordering more CD's very soon.
All the best, Baron Chandler (Atlanta, GA) Tue, 07 Sep 2004
Dear Jessica- Just a quick note of thanks for taking the time to sign the cover of the Yoshi's recording. More important, however, is the quality of the playing in this performance. There is to my ear real growth and change between the first MaxJazz trio outing and this one. I heard more risks being taken with the improvisation and the harmonic qualities especially in your own compositions are quite intriguing. For me the show stopper in this set here was Alone Together. Henry James wrote of the finest art being a seamless melding together of form and content. In this piece you've created an agile two handed story of two personalities struggling to come together in intimacy. I could only think that the performance would be a great musical text to a dance performance. Thanks again for the signed copy and the fine music. Regards- Tom ___
Jessica, I received the package in the mail today (Wednesday). By the way, I had an opportunity to see you last Friday (7/23/04) at Yoshi's. GREAT SHOWS!!! I especially enjoyed your renditions of 'Theme for Ernie' and 'I Want to Talk About You' from John Coltrane's 'Soultrane' Prestige release. The chemistry between you, Ray Drummond and Victor Lewis! It is very apparent and is something special. I treated two of my friends (on travel) to your show. We also stayed for the second show. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to say hello to you between sets. Instead, I went out to the lobby and purchased three of your solo CDs (Blue Tuesday, Live at Maybeck, Offering) as well as your 'Live at Yoshi's, Volume 1'. I had a very nice conversation with Richard McDonnell, MAXJAZZ President. I can hardly wait for 'Volume 2' to come out! Take care!!! Kenneth ___
Dear Jessica - I saw you and Ray Drummond and Victor Lewis last Thursday night (July 29th) at The Triple Door in Seattle, and loved the show. It was among the best evenings of live music I've experienced. I just learned that Live At Yoshi's is out, so I just ordered a copy from your website. I see it's entitled Vol 1, so it sounds like we can expect a second volume. Best regards, Kevin ____
Thanks Jessica, Your Live at Yoshi's is my current favorite CD, I got it at your perfomance last month. The one I just ordered is for friends in Alaska who asked me about the music I like. (They are wonderful people who are wildlife biologists with young children - thus they will not find anything that isn't accessible by kayak or a children's soccer league.) I'm very much looking forward to the two other CDs arriving so I can hear more of your music. Mary ___
Dear Jessica, How I love your music! Yoshi's is just great. Wish I could've been there. Confessin' just blows my mind. Everytime you play it, it is different; isn't that what jazz is all about? And Tutu's promise, so new, such a gem! And I've always had a weak spot for Misterioso - and your 8-something minutes are pure joy. Thank you so much and keep on keeping on. I feel exactly like the blue bird with her new egg! (This is my 39th JW egg, by the way; too much of a good thing can be wonderful!) from Kees ____, and again from Kees, a week later (!):
Dear Jessica, I think I know 'Live at Yoshi's' pretty well by now. But I don't. Thank God, I don't. Every time I play it (almost once a day) I discover things. I play let's say 'I want to talk about you' and suddenly I hear things I didn't hear before. The tune seems to change and all of a sudden it's fresh and brand new. It seems to be quite different from yesterday. How I love your music, Jessica!!! And additionally, this new disc makes me grab your older ones too. There's sooo much to discover! I hope you're well and enjoy your traveling. Keep well and please keep 'em coming. Kees ____
JESSICA WILLIAMS LIVE AT YOSHI'S VOLUME ONE
Jessica's liner notes:
Sometimes we play this Music, other times this Music plays us. It's those 'other times' that we live for...
There's a 'well of souls' that speak through us at such special times. And we join the chorus in that each of us has an accent and a special message to deliver. We speak American Improvised Jazz Music in this band; we all have similar accents; we all have stories to tell... our stories, and the stories of the 'well of souls' that we carry inside of us, everywhere, every minute of every day.
I feel like I stand in the shadow of giants when I play this Music. It humbles me and keeps me real. It never lies to me, and demands absolute truthfulness on my part. When I play with Ray and Victor, it feels like I'm having a passionate discussion with other souls who understand my heart.
They are mirrors to me, and I to them, without agenda, without compromise. We are cleansed and we are always made better and more complete by our musical conversations.
We speak jazz in this band. It's an honor and a privilege to play this Music. -Jessica Williams
KATSUHIKO NAITO, mastering engineer
Recorded on July 9, 10, 2003 at Yoshi's at Jack London Square, Oakland, CA
Jimmy and Deana Katz, photography
All arrangements by Jessica Williams - Jessica Williams compositions; JJW Music - ASCAP