Jessica Williams, jazz pianist, composer


Donations for a Piano (and for my Back Surgery Recovery)


OR: send personal checks, money orders made payable to:

Jessica Williams, PO Box 891, Yakima, WA 98907


Photo of Jessica taken Sept 11, 2016

itemReport: updated October 14th, 2016:

I haven't had a piano, or access to one, for about 3 years now. If I'd had one, I'd be releasing CD after CD. At the age of 68, we get by on Social Security and the kindness of strangers. My husband, 66, has had several major operations and is still recovering. So, while I have no piano, I still have my husband, and I still have my good attitude. Life is still a beautiful thing!

I have an Yamaha NU1 Stringless Digital Piano, which is nice, but the sustain is lacking and the touch sensitivity is wanting. It sounds okay but is barely a practice piano. It has no strings, and is not a true piano. A picture of my NU1 is here and here

After my back surgery, my life changed a LOT.

I died in surgery several times. What was it like? It was like lots and lots of nothing. I don't remember anything at all — just what I was told after surgery.

I do have some "deficits" from that experience. Parts of my brain no longer work well, but other parts are now quite functional that never were working before. Social functions and crowds no longer freak me out, I hear different kinds of music, I love milk, I am much more comfortable in my skin, I enjoy just watching Nature unfold its miracles, I love taking long drives (with Duncan at the wheel, as I have never driven, which is a blessing), and I enjoy classical music immensely. As for my native autism, it doesn't seem to bother me much anymore. I also had intention tremor and hypothyroidism, but these seem gone, also. Tremor! I now can apply mascara easily, accurately, and freely. Maybe too much, but at my age, I am allowed a few eccentricities. The absence of tremor also means that my playing is "stable" again.

Now, a bit more than 4 years after the back operation, I try to live in the moment. I see how beautiful people are. I watch nature and I'm astounded by sunsets. I get up early. I cherish moments as if they are of great import, and, for the first time in my life, I can sleep like never before.

And my dreams are happy ones!

I have a concert in a few days to begin my next step into who knows what. If I knew where I was going, I wouldn't be fiscally insolvent! Catastrophic illness has its effects. IAM READY AND DETERMINED TO WORK. I just need a piano.

Fortunately, I am a survivor, and a successful one, as long as I don't measure success by how much money I make or have. I did thisoff-site . . . and I can do more. Now I can produce art freely without fear. There is no competition. I am just myself.

Despite what some folks believe, musicians no longer get rich on their music! So please help me get a piano.

Thank you. — Jessica Williams, Oct 14, 2016


Photo of Jessica Williams by Duncan Atherton, taken Sept 11, 2016



itemReport: updated Apr 16, 2016: My back surgery was no picnic, physically or financially, and it left me without a piano.

I include a few pictures of my operation below. That's my spine, except for the video.

I died three times during this operation. I have several pounds of metal alloy in my back. I guess I finally get to be The Woman of Steel. I walk, I play music, I do lots of things. But it's hard to be a pianist without a piano!

I stay positive — it's all attitude. Up, not down. Vertical, not horizontal. Example: I stopped all pain-killers. I will play my music again. Your donation will help me climb the ladder.

Anything you can spare will help me reclaim my life's passion. And to all the kind, loving, decent people out there, I thank you from my heart. - JJW, Apr 16 2016

Post-op (after surgery). Click photo to enlarge

anterior post


lateral post

Below: side view, CT, Mar 30 2014

anterior view

Below: anterior view, CT, Mar 30. 2014

anterior view, CT

Also here is a video that's not too graphic that's very close to what I had done.

Procedures thje surgeon performed:

ap erectlateral lean forwardlateral leanbackside erect 2side erect

Personal Progress Reports:

itemReport: updated Apr 10th 2016:

During and after my back surgery, I had to "jettison" some of my personal possessions for financial reasons. Among them was my Yamaha 7' Grand piano. So now I am using an NU-1 Yamaha electric, which is nice, but certainly not a 'real piano'. I am humbly asking for donations to my piano fund. I am saving every penny to put towards a piano. If ever there was a woman in need of a piano, it is I.

Thank you, from my heart. Please donate here

Read more about the piano situation here

itemReport: updated Feb 15th, 2015:

Besides not having a piano and having some bad cramps at night as I try to sleep, life is okay. I always remain optimistic. It's not about whether we reach the highest pinnacle, but how high we can go with what we have to work with. I do my best. That's all I can do.

Not much to report. It helps to receive donations. I dislike money and hate asking for it. Everybody these days wants something, and it's usually money. I get weary of the corporate mind-set that seems to have swept our country and perhaps our whole planet. What the heck good is money if you aren't happy?

I'm happy in that I have my love for my guy, my ability to still have great meals with him as we cook together and manage to not bump into each other in the tiny kitchen here . . . I'm happy I have this NU-1 Yamaha Electric. It's not a real piano but it's better than nothing. And I'm thankful for my health. The back is a complicated part of us. Some days it hurts, sometimes I twist too far, sometimes I do the stupidest things like try to reach for something I know I shouldn't reach for . . . and for days afterwards I feel it. But all in all, tomorrow comes, the sun still rises.

If you can afford to help, please do so. I can only repay you by continually posting my new music and selling my new CDs. The piano will help make the new music recordable. Getting a piano is the focus in my life right now.

I can even make deals if they are honest ones! I'm willing to do a lot of things to get my full life back.

Please donate here

itemReport: updated Nov 12th, 2015:

I have moved to a different part of Washington State where the air is cleaner, the food is better, living is not nearly as expensive, and there are opportunities for growth and change strangely absent in most larger cities. I've always believed it was myth to think that artists and musicians were more creative if they lived in a metropolis and were subject to grinding poverty.

Now I'm still in poverty but it's not so grinding.

Don't get the idea that I'm depressed. I am a very positive girl. When someone says we have to die at 70, I say "I'm not dying. Ever."

Since there are boxes everywhere in my new "digs" and an enormous amount of physical work to do (yes, I have ample help, thank you) my entry today will be necessarily short.

I broke two toes yesterday as my foot met with an errant piece of architecture, but that's par for my style. I am so glad I did not fall.

Only way to go is up. Down is not an option.

We control our destinies to a greater degree than we can imagine.

itemReport: Dec 5th, 2014:

I played more today than I often do (at home) and realized just how much The Music means to me. It fills me. It is my way of speaking my Truth, in a Universal language. Today my playing was very centered and perhaps spare, but I've come to dislike un-needed flourishes and filler.

It's like that old "Hamburger Helper" stuff. Not pertinent.

As I always aspire to turn the negative into the positive, I know that I've grown so much while in recovery from the back operation. We should never stop growing and changing and reaching. I'm very optimistic sometimes. The mornings are the hardest, and the evenings are much easier. I worry about money, paying the rent. Too much worry. When I lived in Copenhagen, I saw how their social system worked. High taxes? Oh, yes. But no homeless folks, no starving poor, and no life-long striving and worry about money. Sometimes I wish I had stayed, but so much would NOT have happened.

America is still the land of potential. I love it, and want to continue to contribute to the arts . . . and I want to continue to make new friends and to help other people.

Thank you all for the donations. I am deeply grateful. And I can do a house concert anytime. I may even try a long-haul. I must test myself to find my limits.

I put some new pictures of me on my Flickr pageoff-site, taken by my husband in a Fred Meyers store. more . . .

Personal progress reports are now here

  1. Click here for Surgical Report recorded during surgery, including findings, problems, solutions, and processes
  2. Click here for latest CT imaging and movies of Jessica's post-operative spine, progress reports, etc.
  3. What did the surgeon(s) do? Exact details here

You can use PayPal, or you can send personal checks or money orders, made payable to Jessica Williams, at

  1. Jessica Williams
  2. PO Box 891
  3. Yakima, WA 98907
  4. Voicemail: 518-364-6398
  5. email:


This site is dedicated to John Coltrane, Glenn Gould, Elvin Jones, Mary Lou Williams, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, and all who have devoted their lives and their souls to Music. "I want to be a force for good. I know there are bad forces here that bring suffering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be the force which is truly good." - John Coltrane