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James Williams

James Williams

The Park Slope basketball courts are only blocks from James Williams’ Brooklyn brownstone apartment, and the pianist sure talks a good game. But the Hank Mobley Jazz Festival will start with or without the first-rate pianist and ball-court ringer, and Williams is required on the bandstand in just a few hours. Two-on-two hoops will have to wait.

“I always thought I’d become the next Willie Mays or Roberto Clemente, or the next Oscar Robertson. Didn’t have the height to be Wilt the Stilt. More like Wilt the Stump,” laughs the self-deprecating pianist, making light of his height. But if Williams handles the rock with the same athleticism and enthusiasm that he stomps the blues, his basketball opponents wouldn’t stand a chance.

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