Kate Williams Septet – Made Up
(kwjazz737. CD review by Chris Parker)
‘Lucid and inventive’ are the adjectives applied by the late Humphrey Lyttelton to the pianist/composer Kate Williams, and this, her fourth – and most ambitious – album to date (previous outings have involved a trio, quartet and quintet; this features a septet on six of its eight tracks) might have been specially made to embody these qualities.
Unshowy, subtle, musicianly, Williams has always inhabited the area of the music previously occupied by the likes of John Lewis, or to come closer to home and change instruments, Kenny Wheeler, her music relying for its considerable power not on climactic grandstanding but on elegance and grace, just as her own playing is notable for its delicate but none the less effective rhythmic displacements rather than sizzling solo runs played at blistering speed.
Here, she has skilfully assembled a band of like minds – Gareth Lockrane (flutes), trumpeter Steve Fishwick, reeds players Ben Somers and Julian Siegel – to supplement her regular rhythm section, bassist Jeremy Brown (replaced by Oli Hayhurst on a couple of tracks) and drummer Tristan Mailliot and they negotiate her pleasingly tricksy themes (and the one non-original, Eliane Elias’s ‘One Side of You’) with stylish brio.
Cogent, lively and insinuatingly memorable, Made Up provides, in spades, further evidence of a considerable composing (and bandleading) talent.