Origin Artist

Jessica Williams

One of the greatest jazz pianists I have ever heard...
Dave Brubeck

March 17, 1948 - March 12, 2022

Jessica Williams was a well-known and highly respected pianist and composer who had deep roots in the Jazz Tradition. The three-time Grammy Nominee was born in Baltimore, Maryland, where she started playing the piano at age four, began music lessons with a private teacher at five, and at age seven was enrolled at Peabody Preparatory. She studied classical music and ear training with Richard Aitken and George Bellows at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. In 1976, Jessica moved to Philadelphia and began performing with the great Philly Joe Jones, drummer for the Miles Davis Quintet. She moved to San Francisco in 1977 where she played in house bands at Keystone Korner, and with Eddie Harris, Dexter Gordon, Tony Williams, Stan Getz, Big Nick Nicholaus, Airto and Flora, Charlie Rouse, John Abercrombie, Charlie Haden, Leroy Vinnegar, and others.

Williams appeared at the 2004 and 2006 "Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festivals" at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She also appeared in festivals and venues worldwide, including The Purcell Room in London, The Bern Jazz Festival, The Monterey Jazz Festival, The New Morning in Paris, Spivey Hall in Georgia, and hundreds of other venues. She was a guest on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz on NPR, as well as being interviewed by the BBC in Brecon, Wales.

She released 50 albums in a career spanning as many years. Her album Joyful Sorrow was among the Top 5 CDs of JazzTimes' Critics Poll in 1999, and her album In the Key of Monk won that honor again in 2000. In late 2004, her album LIVE at Yoshi's Volume One was nominated for a Grammy. In Europe, she scored Jazz Record of the Year for 2 consecutive years in the Jazz Journal International Reader's Poll. She has scored PBS and HBO specials, and has been presented the Keys to the City of both San Mateo, and Sacramento, California. She has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; a Rockefeller Grant for composing; the Alice B. Toklas Grant for Women Composers, and the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

During her last 2 decades, she lived in the Pacific Northwest where she was active with her trios - which included bassists Leroy Vinnegar, Jeff Johnson, Dave Captein & Doug Miller, and drummers Dick Berk, Mel Brown & John Bishop - and performed widely in solo recitals, several represented on her recordings with Origin Records.

Fresh Air Interview, NPR (2002) - https://freshairarchive.org/segments/pianist-jessica-williams
All Music Guide - https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jessica-williams-mn0000289791
All About Jazz Interview - https://www.allaboutjazz.com/jessica-williams-musical-truths-jessica-williams-by-dan-mcclenaghan?fbclid=IwAR2nCjZAwFqN6kCEWsRqXIA69ynxdpOjo8swMsIEmoWmawJ--r_4-p2jIC0


Jessica Williams
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Jessica Williams
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Jessica Williams
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Jessica Williams
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Jessica Williams
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Jessica Williams
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Jessica Williams
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Carolyn Graye with Jessica Williams
OA2 Records 22006


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