Jessica Williams

Ain't Misbehavin'

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Like 1996's Gratitude, Ain't Misbehavin' is another satisfying solo piano album. This time the setting is live, at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford, a space that opened to the public in 1748. Many of Williams' best improvisational moments occur during the four standards on the program: "Alone Together," "Too Young to Go Steady," "Don't Blame Me," and the famous Fats Waller title track. There are also two strong originals, "El Salvador" and "Joyful Sorrow"; two tunes associated with the late Rahsaan Roland Kirk, "The Eulipians" and "Black Diamond"; the seldom-played Sonny Rollins gem "Paul's Pal"; and John Coltrane's hymn-like "After the Rain," which serves as the finale. Williams has fun with the audience, and herself, quoting Bud Powell here, "Camptown Races" there, giving each tune exactly the treatment it seems to ask for. She's not an innovator by any stretch, but always very impressive.

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