James Williams made several outstanding recordings for Verve during the 1980s with groups that he each referred to as a "Magical Trio." On this 1997 session he is reunited with the two veterans who made up the best of the previous editions; the matchless bassist Ray Brown and outstanding drummer Elvin Jones accompany his always brilliant piano playing. His no holds barred approaches to "It's Alright With Me" and Mary Lou Williams' "Lonely Moments" are driving arrangements full of surprising twists, his jaunty striding take of "Give Me the Simple Life" is beautifully understated, and he adds a lush introduction to Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady." Fueled by Jones' percussion, Williams adds a Latin kick to the old standard "Sweet and Lovely." The pianist can't resist (and shouldn't!) showing off his gospel roots with a swinging version of the spiritual "Go Tell It on the Mountain." This Japanese import is well worth the investment.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden