Jessica Williams


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Jessica Williams utilizes a larger group than usual on this set, which was recorded partly in concert and partly in the studios. All eight selections match the great pianist with bassist Jeff Johnson and Jay Thomas (who plays trumpet, flute and tenor). Mel Brown or Dick Berk is on drums, while tenor saxophonist Hadley Caliman makes three welcome appearances. The band performs eight of Williams' originals, which were composed as a suite. They range from the upbeat blues "Joy" to "Compassion," "The Quilt," "The Mystery Unfolds" and the closing "Chant for World Peace." The music is fairly serious and adventurous, yet has its share of witty and light moments. All of Jessica Williams' recordings are recommended, but this one stands out because it features her not only as a stunning soloist but as a sensitive accompanist.

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