...this is quite possibly one of the best releases of the last few years.
Jessica Williams presents a solo recital of original compositions as a heartfelt homage to one of America's great musical treasures, Dr. Billy Taylor. Recording in the intimacy of her home studio, Jessica captures the feel of a concert hall with an open piano sound of full transient overtones and rich, deep bass tones, enveloping her fluid lyricism. "One of the top pianists of today, she is a giant, consistently brilliant." -Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
1 Finally Free
2 Billy's Theme No. 1
3 The Soul Doctor
4 Blues for BT
5 Taylor's Triumph
6 Spontaneous Composition & Improvisation No. 1
7 Spontaneous Composition & Improvisation No. 2
8 Billy's Theme No. 2
JESSICA WILLIAMS - solo piano
PRODUCED BY JESSICA WILLIAMS
All compositions by JESSICA WILLIAMS (©2006 Jessica Williams, JJW Music ASCAP)
Ms. Williams plays a Knabe 7ft Concert Grand
Recorded direct to 2-track hard disk by JESSICA WILLIAMS and ELAINE ARC, February 2006
Mastered by MARK GUENTHER, Seattle Disc Mastering
Photography by BRENDAN BONSACK, MARK URBAN, REBEKAH BROWNING, NIKKI WARD
Design & layout by JOHN BISHOP
Jessica Williams appears courtesy of Red and Blue Recordings
All About Jazz.com (Jack Bowers)
One great pianist deserves another. Billy Taylor, who needs no introduction to jazz fans around the world, is the honoree (tributary?) in this solo recital by longtime friend and ardent admirer Jessica Williams, who may need an introduction to some but can easily hold her own against the most accomplished pianists one cares to name. As she has s ...
All Music Guide (Adam Greenberg)
Jessica Williams is at the forefront of jazz in the nontraditional setting: leaving the nightclubs in favor of concert halls. Billy Taylor was one of the first to go in that direction well before her, however. Here, she pays tribute to the fine pianist with a series of original compositions. The sound is incredible, recorded in a home studio but cl ...
Audiophile Audition (John Henry)
I feel that Jessica Williams is not just the top female jazz pianist around today but one of the top jazz pianists period. She's recorded a steady stream of fine albums over the years (we just reviewed two of them here, as a matter of fact). But this one is a bit different on several counts. First, it is a tribute to one of the major spokesmen for ...
JazzTimes, September 2006 (Thomas Conrad)
To "get" Jessica Williams, you must experience her in person. Her audience is fiercely loyal, and her deep connection with them comes partly from the tension between her demure shyness and her utterly dominating piano. She is in her own way, a super saleswoman of the keyboard and never lets anyone out of the room without closing the deal. Not su ...
MusicWeb International (Tony Augarde)
Billy Taylor is best known ñ at least in Britain ñ for his trio's recording of his composition I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free, which has been popularized as the signature tune for BBC Television's long-running "Film" programme. But, of course, Billy Taylor has done much more than that, as Jessica Williams's sleeve-note reminds us: pla ...
The Davis Enterprise, September 14, 2006 (Ric Bang)
Jessica Williams was 4 when she discovered her grandmother's piano. By age 7, little Jessica was taking formal lessons; she soon was accepted at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory. While still in her teens, she was playing regularly with a jazz combo; by 20 she had moved to California and literally had her pick of the dozens of groups perform ...
Jazz Journal International (Derek Ansell)
This CD was designed as a tribute to Dr. Billy Taylor, the veteran jazz pianist who has been playing for 65 years now and is counted by Ms Williams as a friend. He has also booked her to play at various prestigious events and, as she puts it, they have spent time 'hanging out together for a few hours.' The music, all original compositions by Jessic ...
Jazz Review (Larry Taylor)
This CD represents the fine pianist, Jessica Williams', solo tribute to her mentor and friend, Dr. Billy Taylor. She wrote all the songs, and they show her impressive range and ability. Honoree Taylor began his piano career with Ben Webster in the '40s and went on to lead his own groups through the decades. From the beginning, Taylor also becam ...
Cadence (Jim Santella)
The solo piano performance on Billy's Theme features Jessica Williams with a loving tribute to Dr. Billy Taylor. With her program of original compositions, she's captured the essence of his appreciation for pure melody and all the other simple pleasures found in good music. Like Taylor, Williams prefers to let her heart sing these musical praises ...