Jessica Williams, jazz pianist, composer

 

Donations for a Piano, and my Back Surgery Recovery

Or, you can send personal checks, cash (USD only), or money orders made payable to me: Jessica Williams, PO Box 891, Yakima, WA 98907. You may call and leave a message at 509.985.5955. I will call you back. Thank you. — updated by Jessica, Nov 10th, 2017

jessica anterior post

Oct 6th, 2017:

Catastrophic illness has its terrible effects, financially and physically. I am a very private and quiet woman and I don't enjoy having to ask you for help. Everyone needs money now, and you probably do, too. My words will probably fail me, but this is the truth.

I haven't had a piano, or access to one, for almost 6 years now.

Update to my Spinal Recovery and Piano Fund

I'm surviving on Social Security, foods-stamps, and your kind help. My Husband, 68, has had several major operations and is recovering but cannot work.

Rather embarrassingly, I still need rent for December. Soon I will be past this difficult period.

I have a Yamaha NU1 String-less Electronic Digital Piano, which I practice on, but the sustain is lacking and the touch sensitivity is wanting. It doesn't even sound like a piano. It has no strings, it creates no over-tones. I am making a CD on it anyway. Nothing can stop my music, and I promise a new CD of my new music as long as I can stay under a roof.

After my back surgery, my life changed a LOT. It was financially, emotionally, and physically devastating.(*)

(Also, it's dentist time, and Americans like myself don't have dental insurance. All of my teeth need extraction. We'll see what happens on Nov 13.)

 

I DIED in surgery several times. Dying and coming back changes everyone. It is a different world to me now.

Almost 5 years after the back operation, I try to live in the moment. I seek love, truth, 'God', free will, and exactly who I am and why I am here. I see how beautiful people are. I enjoy cooking and making my Husband happy as much as possible. It sounds weird, but I'm a better person and a better woman now. I aspire to be better every day.

50 years of physically hard jazz piano playing . . . it can take its toll on women.

And even McCoy Tyner knows this all too well, as did Horace Silver and many other friends and associates. Pianists, please watch your posture! And your habits . . . I have not smoked, drank, or taken drugs for 20 years (I never ever did drugs, but did drink and smoke . . . I quit everything 20 years ago). I don't curse, ever. I eat healthy, I am a vitamin fan, and I exercise. For residual back pain, I use natural plant products. I avoid listening to the news. I do not own a TV set.

Stress can kill.

I just miss having a piano. And teeth. I miss food. And kissing my husband.

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 will do more. I feel that many might be afraid of me because of the current climate of hate and fear — but people who see and hear me now say that I am so beautiful, poised, and passionate about music, and that they don't care about the rumors set off by political and religious attacks and disinformation. Ignore the fake news about me, please.

It's the music I care about, and my husband, and the people who listen to me and support me. That's all that's important now.

I have no party affiliations, no agenda, and support no extremist philosophy of life.

Also, despite what some folks still believe, musicians no longer get rich on their music!

I may not be well-accepted in the US, but I have received help from devoted fans. My fans are in Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Holland, Canada, Argentina, The UK, France, Italy, Portugal, almost everywhere across the globe, and many places that I have never been, places that my CDs and LPs have sold in large numbers. My music needs to continue.

Help if you can. If you cannot, just be happy and have a wonderful life full of love, passion, truth, and good works. You are a friend, not a fan. I don't have fans. Just friends. Thank you. — Lovepeacesanity, Jessica Williams

All of my Personal Progress Reports are now archived here. They go back almost 5 years.

Please donate here

paypal

Donations for Piano, my C-therapy, and my Back Surgery Recovery

 

PS: Every contributor receives links to free downloadable CDs of mine.

PS #2: The surgeries performed: L5-S1 posterior interbody fusion; L5-S1 Posterior fusion; L4-5 lateral extracavitary arthrodesis; L4-L5-S1 pedicle screws; Posterior posterolateral fusion, L4-5; Smith-Peterson osteotomy, L4-5 and L5-S1, additional surgery to preserve nerve pathways after the removal of pounds of scar tissue and nerve root adhesions; Neuroplasty, adhered nerve root, L5-S1; lnterbody cage, L4-5 and L5-S1; Bipedicled paraspinal trunk flap, not enough muscle and tissue to close; 3 Laminectomies; foraminotomies; and medial facetectomy L4-5.

Jessica

Un-retouched photo of Jessica taken Sept 11, 2016

itemReport: updated Jan 2, 2017: 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. Against all predictions to the contrary, I can walk easily, stand for almost an hour, I can play music, I can do lots of things.

But it's hard to be a pianist without a piano!

As for pantyhose? I cannot put those on myself. My husband has to help! See? It's not all bad! (My dear Mother was a Matrilineal Jew. We are implacable humorists and optimists.)

I stay positive — it's all attitude. Up, never down. Vertical, not horizontal. Example: I stopped all pain-killers. I will play my music again. Your donation will help me climb the ladder. It already has.

It is rare for someone like me to recover from an illness like this, that puts most people in wheel-chairs, or worse. My heart bleeds for these men and women, many who suffer much more than I. The Universal Consciousness must have wanted me to play, as I have had quite a time of it, and I made it this far! I thank The Universe for this miracle every day.

I am grateful. Thankful. And blessed.

Anything you can spare will help me reclaim my life's passion. And to all the kind, loving, decent people out there, and there are tons of them, I thank you from my heart. This is my human family. I am an only child. You are my family. — Jessica, Dec 29, 2016. One Race

Please donate here

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.

Please donate here

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.

Please donate here

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: jessicajwilliams@me.com

Please donate here

 

THANK YOU!

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