And Then, There's This

Jessica Williams

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And Then, There's This Review

by Steve Loewy

This wonderful little gem features pianist Jessica Williams in trio on a set of six originals, a couple of pieces by Thelonious Monk, and one each by George Gershwin and Irving Berlin. What makes the recording so appealing is Williams' exquisite sense of rhythm and stunning technique, and drummer Kenny Wollensen's outstanding drumming. Williams uses both hands across the whole keyboard. Her style is instantly recognizable, as her bold and confident strokes and ability to move rapidly contrast with a sometimes delicate approach. She seems highly attuned to Monk, and her successful takes of "Bemsha Swing" and "I Mean You" shed new light on the songs' quirky melodies and harmonies. Her own compositions are special, too, with attractive and often catchy lines. Her "The House That Rouse Built," a clever double entendre, and "Newk's Fluke" are particularly fascinating. With the dearth of really fine piano albums in the '90s, it is surprising that Ms. Williams did not receive more attention. This album is one of the finest examples of creative piano performance of that decade.

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