Jessica Williams – Jessica’s Blues (1997)

Jessica Williams - Jessica's Blues (1997)
Artist: Jessica Williams
Album: Jessica’s Blues
Genre: Piano Jazz / Post-Bop
Origin: USA
Released: 1997
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

01. Smoking Section (4:29)
02. Chief Seattle Blues (6:24)
03. Sneak Preview (5:43)
04. See See Rider (7:13)
05. Dat’s For Nat (5:37)
06. Blues For Bill (5:52)
07. Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home (6:38)
08. Temporary Sanity (4:43)
09. St Louis Blues (8:29)
10. Raise Four (5:48)
11. Blue Jay (5:34)


Virtuosic pianist Jessica Williams is best heard as an unaccompanied soloist, where her imagination and wit can run wild, but she also fares quite well when playing with sympathetic musicians. This outing matches her with bassist Jeff Johnson, drummer Mel Brown and (on seven of the 11 numbers) Jay Thomas, who shows that he is equally skilled on tenor and trumpet. The emphasis is on the blues (other than “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home”), but by using different tempos, moods, and to a small extent styles, the musicians perform a surprisingly varied program. Thomas’ swinging tenor solos (in the tradition of Gene Ammons) and fluent trumpet (check out the ancient sound he gets while muted on “St. Louis Blues”) are major assets; he sometimes overdubbed a second horn for the ensembles. However, Jessica Williams easily emerges as the main star, whether ripping into the cooking “Raised Fourth” (a Thelonious Monk line), playing a boogaloo-ish “Sneak Preview,” hinting at Red Garland and Bill Evans, or contributing a whistle to “Smoking Section” (which is dedicated to Rahsaan Roland Kirk). This date is highly recommended to straight-ahead jazz fans and is yet another strong addition to Jessica Williams’ rapidly growing discography.
Review by Scott Yanow