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The Charleston SC Post and Courier

Jessica Williams at the Spoleto Jazz Festival, by Robert Jones

Jazz pianist Jessica Williams is not a household name, except to Jazz impresario Michael Grofsorean who claims she might be the best pianist in the world, or one of them at the very least.

At the Recital Hall in Simons Center on Friday, Ms. Williams held forth at a grand piano, unamplified and with no backup instruments and made Mr. Grofsorean's claim not at all extravagant.

Jessica Williams is the gentlest of jazz pianists, low key, understated, elegant.

Words like Satin and Slinky come to mind when you hear her inventive pianism.

She can sound like a number of pianists she admires, most memorably Errol Garner, but she doesn't seem married (musically speaking) to any of them.

She's a charming figure on stage, too.

She looks rather like an older edition of the actress Shelley Long, and has the same way of communicating a shy intelligence.

Her spoken exchanges with the audience were understated and very funny, needing only more volume from the onstage microphone to be ideal.

I hope she comes back soon, and often.

nxt