Pamela Williams

Eight Days of Ecstasy

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The very sensuous looking and sounding Pamela Williams certainly delivers on the promise of her title, Eight Days of Ecstasy; this is one of the sexiest rhythm and jazz dates in ages. Which is interesting, because as a sax player, for the most part she doesn't really add anything innovative to her craft. If you take the blindfold test, you might hear her wonderful influences, David Sanborn (the gritty alto funk of "Pump Up the Heat") and the late George Howard (a sassy soprano led take on Al Green's "Still in Love"). She is an obvious fan of Babyface, as the vocal tune "I'll Be There for You" (which she simply harmonizes on) sounds like an outtake. Yet there is hope to break beyond these patterns, particularly on the closing track, "One of the Cats," where she takes the high tones of the soprano, combines them with the darker edges of tenor, and springs them into more improvisational directions over a keyboard generated trio groove. And then in the middle, she switches off, playing tag team relay. She also proves a capable team player with none other than Gerald Albright, with the two cooking up some horn-section tension on alto (Williams) and tenor (Albright).

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