Jessica Williams

Live at Yoshi’s Vol. 1 (MAXJAZZ)

 Little known away from the West Coast, Jessica Williams is no newcomer on the jazz scene, yet she remains obscure except to her avid followers. Her playing is not stereotyped. While she does have a personal sound, she can morph into so many different types in one set of music that she is disarmingly difficult to categorize. Previously, she tended to play predominantly originals, which was not a bad idea considering her abundant composing talents. This CD has some rather obscure standards (”I’m Confessing That I Love You,” “Say It Over and Over Again”) and some originals like the funky tour de force “Tutu’s Promise” that absolutely rocks. There is a touch of boogie woogie at times, hard-swinging stuff, and then the exquisite and languid beauty in Billy Cobham’s “Heather.”

Again, the rhythm section is superb with crafty veterans Ray Drummond on bass and the best drummer Stan Getz ever hired, Victor Lewis, a swinging fiend who never tries to steal the show. This is likely Ms. Williams’s best recording to date and is a good introduction to her style if you are not hip to her yet.