CD Review: Jeff Williams – Another Time

Jeff Williams – Another Time
(Whirlwind Recordings WR4616. CD review by Chris Parker)

Steeped in jazz from an early age (he was brought up in New York by a jazz-vocalist mother and began his professional drumming career with Stan Getz in 1972), Jeff Williams has become a familiar figure on the UK scene since 2005, when he established a second home in London.

This recording, his first as a leader in over a decade, features his gently propulsive, sympathetic drumming alongside three American musicians – alto player John O’Gallagher, trumpeter Duane Eubanks (brother of Robin and Kevin), bassist John Hébert – with whom Williams has been playing in New York clubs for a couple of years, and with whom he will be playing at next year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

The material is mostly Williams’s, though each other bandmember contributes a composition of his own, and it’s basically in what might be described as early-Ornette mode: haunting harmonised theme statements ranging from piercingly strident to mournfully melancholy giving rise to free-ish improvisations (harmonically unfettered courtesy of the quartet’s being pianoless) from the ringing, eloquent Eubanks and the attractively dry, affecting O’Gallagher.

Williams probes, pushes and patters underneath and through the quartet’s music, imparting what one reviewer has perceptively termed ‘supple rhythmic flow’ to the proceedings, and the resulting album is a subtle treat, restrained and tasteful, but surprisingly compulsive and revealing fresh felicities on each new exposure to its eight originals.

The London Jazz Festival will provide UK listeners with a chance to hear them, with Williams leading a UK band comprising guitarist Phil Robson, bassist Sam Lasserson and tenor player Joshua Arcoleo.

Friday November 18th, Green Note Camden Town, 8pm, opposite violinist Olivia Moore

Categories: miscellaneous

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