Introducing Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams is a well-known and highly respected American pianist and composer.
- Dave Brubeck calls her "One of the greatest jazz pianists I have ever heard."
- McCoy Tyner says "Jessica is a beautiful player."
- Critics agree
Bill Evans asked her to share the stage on numerous occasions, while Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, and Billy Taylor made sure she played most of the major concerts and festivals worldwide.
This three-time Grammy Nominee is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She played in the bands of Philly Joe Jones, Stan Getz, Eddie Harris, Tony Williams, Airto and Flora, Charlie Rouse, Charlie Haden, Bobby Hutcherson, and others
- She has released over 77 albums and written over 1000 compositions
- She holds a Fellowship with the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
- She has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; a Rockefeller Grant for composing; the Alice B. Toklas Grant for Women Composers, the ACSCAP+ Award, and more
During the past four decades, Jessica has recorded for Timeless Records, Maxjazz, Fantasy, Origin Arts, Jazz Focus, Candid, Concord Records, and others. She owns her publishing company, JJW Music, the CD company Red and Blue Recordings, and her own Internet business. A frequent guest on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, she also appeared on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. She's written scores for PBS and HBO and has toured the world from The Kennedy Center in DC to the Opera House in Tokyo.
She is still very much active in her chosen profession and continues to be "a vibrant force on the contemporary music scene." - Rolling Stone
I write about me:
It seems to me as if a musician should write about their own version of their work and life. Critics write pretty words, and I’ve been lucky in that department. I appreciate every one of those wonderful reviews and comments. They really helped me.
You should know that I built this web site myself, with no help, so apologies for the occasional techno-slip. I learned how to code and gradually learned how to sell my own music. And that suits me fine, because I enjoy learning how to make things go. It also suits me fine because after having all of my music pilfered (a gentle word for stolen) by all these big corporate entities that pay me pennies every so often, I felt like my music should at least make a bit of money for me to live on.
Not that it often does, but I love music with a passion. Music cascades forth from within me and runs through me like a river that empties into an ocean of peace and love. Music is a living thing that touches the absolute.
It is one more reason to be grateful that I am alive!
And there are tales to tell and words, many words, that I could write. But it’s best just to say that I’m still here and I still am capable of making very lovely and powerful music. At least it sounds like that to me. And some others, too.
I include all the glowing compliments from the critics here. Once, I had boxes and boxes full of all the news clippings. But what the heck was I going to do, paper my walls with them? Come to think of it, I don’t even have all the recordings I made.
I’m very devoted to music. I continue to write music with or without a piano, and I will not ever stop. I feel that I have another 25 years to work, and that will go by quickly, so I better get started.
So you see, I’m not one of those city-dwellers that runs around all day with a cell phone, laptop, earbuds, portfolio, and stock-market tips. That stuff makes no sense to me. If we were meant to run around that fast and furious and multi-task continuously, just leave me out.
I live in a place where I can watch the birds circling above, with hills and dunes all around me, cradling me like a child. Which I am, which I think we all are. We need peace to make things. Georgia O'Keeffe and Agnes Martin and a lot of other women went to the desert to work. Maybe the city is good to draw crowds. But making art requires patience, dedication, and concentration. Put that all together with occasional inspiration, and you have something good. The birds just love my music.
My life? I’ve never had much money but I have always had friends. And dogs. And I also have a husband that lights up my life and makes me feel like a kid. Along with my music, that makes me at least a Duchess.
Really, life is a lot better when it’s simple.
What's going on NOW:
Manual update: Feb 9th, 2016
In mid-2012 I had a back operation, and had to send back my piano because the operation wiped me out financially. One needs to eat.
Now I am feeling much better, and wish to contribute more of my music — there is much more to do — but the absence of a piano has practically stopped my music from flowing forth.
Studio time is terribly expensive and not always the best route for recording solo piano. I need a piano that can be recorded by myself in my own place. I have two fine Aussie Rodes microphones and a top-end analog-digital setup for recording piano. I made many of my most popular discs at home. I have become a good engineer, I think. At least better than some of the ones I've paid for.
Yet I have no piano so I can not make CDs, or practice, or even play my music.
Every penny now goes towards a piano. A seven-footer, because I need that bass end and all of the variant overtones.
If it's possible for you, could you donate to my continuing recovery from back surgery and also to help me raise enough $ for a piano? I am deeply indebted to each of you — for buying my music, of course — but also for helping me stay alive and productive.
May all of you that read my words be blessed. Thank you so very much and I hope that you enjoy my music.
Jessica, Feb 9 2016
Photo by Jimmy Katz