Jessica Williams: Higher Standards

COMPOSERS: Brooks Bowman etc,Cole Porter,Kurt Weil
LABELS: Candid
PERFORMER: Jessica Williams (p); Dave Captein (b); Mel Brown (d)
CATALOGUE NO: CCD 79736

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Jessica Williams has been playing jazz piano professionally since the 1970s, initially with the Philly Joe Jones Quintet, but she remained a well-kept secret until the release of a 1986 Blackhawk recording, Nothin’ but the Truth.

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Now, with a string of acclaimed Hep and Jazz Focus recordings behind her, she is regarded as one of the instrument’s most original practitioners, and this trio album of standards such as Cole Porter’s ‘Get out of Town’, Kurt Weill’s ‘Mack the Knife’ and Brooks Bowman’s ‘East of the Sun’ showcases her idiosyncratic but consistently musical talent perfectly. Williams’s philosophy is best summed up in her own words: ‘The main question I ask myself when I play music is not: Is it modern? Is it the 1990s? But: Is it fun?’ Accordingly her performances, though unfussily virtuosic, are often playful, even impish: any doubters should sample this album’s version of Duke Ellington’s ‘Solitude’, which somehow contrives to combine reverent homage with puckish humour. CP