Charles Williams' self-titled Mainstream debut hearkens back to the soul-jazz sound dominant a decade ago. Despite the lean, mean funkiness of his alto sax leads, the session makes few nods to prevailing sensibilities, instead favoring a spacious, mellow mood suggesting the classic Prestige Records formula. Joined by up-and-coming organist Don Pullen as well as tenorist David Bubba Brooks, guitarist Earl Dunbar, bassist Gordon Edwards, and drummer Bill Curtis, Williams proves a deceptively commanding presence, eschewing pyrotechnics and histrionics on a series of earthy yet accomplished solos that ripple with imagination. The organic groove extends across the record, and while each player shines, the music is far greater than the sum of its parts.
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny