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March 1997

Jessica Williams
The Victoria Concert
Jazz Focus Records

This solo performance, recorded before a live audience in British Columbia in 1995, is replete with evidence of Williams' mastery of style and execution. The repertoire consists of six standards and three originals. "I Want To Be Happy" is played in a stride manner while her own tune, "Blue Tuesday," is brooding and darkly emotive. Two numbers evoke John Coltrane, his own "Mr. Syms," and "My One and Only Love," based on the Coltrane version from the "Ballads" album. Williams's interpretations are intriguing journeys, a balance of high and low register playing, with pauses and silence to create tension and drama, as on her own "Sometimes Silence." On the remaining tunes, "Straight, No Chaser," "Willow Weep for Me," "Dear Gaylord," and "Dedicated to You," her touch is exceptional and full-bodied; delicate, resounding, and complex.

Originally published in March 1997
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