Jessica Williams

Touch

origin 82566

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Mike Shanley, JazzTimes

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Touch marks the second time Williams has recorded live at Seattle's Triple Door, and the intimacy shows up in strong reworkings of classics and her own thoughtful compositions. "I Loves You Porgy" feels gentle and romantic but not saccharine. The intro to "I Cover the Waterfront" sounds like Art Tatum channeling Thelonious Monk. Her left hand takes the spotlight in the lower register later in the tune, and Williams adds some Garner-esque comps that work so well it's surprising she doesn't generate applause between each chorus.

The same can be said about John Coltrane's "Wise One," which builds into rhythmic clusters that acknowledge McCoy Tyner and nearly inspire Williams to leap off the rails. Her own "Gail's Song" is inspired by Mingus' ballads, but it also has the strong-and-sweet feel of a beloved show tune. For pure Mingus, her reading of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" plays up the song's chord changes, which are often overlooked due to the haunting melody.






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