Jessica Williams

Born: March 17, 1948    Primary Instrument: Piano

Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams is a well-known and highly respected pianist and composer who has deep roots in the Jazz Tradition. The two-time Grammy Nominee was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and classically trained at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. In her teens, Jessica moved to Philadelphia and began playing with the great Philly Joe Jones, drummer for the Miles Davis Quintet. Later, she moved to California, where she played in the bands of Eddie Harris, Dexter Gordon, Tony Williams, Stan Getz, Big Nick Nicholaus, Airto and Flora, Charlie Rouse, John Abercrombie, Charlie Haden, Leroy Vinnegar, and others. She has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; a Rockerfeller Grant for composing; the Alice B. Toklas Grant for Women Composers, and the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Jessica has been an honored guest on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz....
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John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship Grammy Nominee 1986, Best Instrumental Jazz Album National Endowment for the Arts ('88, '92) Alice B Toklas Fellowship Money for Women 1993 Rockerfeller Grant 1990 Record of the Year 1994, 1995, Jazz Journal International Presented a plaque of civic appreciation from Mayor Anne Rudin (CA) Meet the Composer Grant 1991 Keys to the City of Sacramento 1989 Sacramento Arts Commission, four grants, 1984-88 Keys to the City of San Mateo 1997 Artist of the Year Award Santa Cruz County 2002 One of the TOP 5 CDs of 2000 (JazzTimes Critics Poll; In the Key of Monk) One of the TOP 5 CDs of 1999 (JazzTimes Critics Poll; Joyful Sorrow) 15 Special Awards Panel Grants from ASCAP for composition Grammy Nominee 2004, Best Instrumental Jazz Album 2005 Best Jazz Album of the Year (Live at Yoshi's, Vol 2), All About Jazz Opened the Mary Lou WIlliams Women In Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in May, 2006, 2005
”One of the greatest jazz pianists I have ever heard.” -Dave Brubeck

”Jessica is a beautiful player.” -McCoy Tyner

”The most important pianist to arrive since Bill Evans.” -Alun Morgan, Gramophone

”I”m running out of superlatives to describe her playing!” -Humphrey Littleton, BBC

”A vibrant force on the contemporary music scene.” -Rolling Stone

”She should be heard by everyone who cares about jazz.” -William Stephenson, Jazziz Magazine

”Jessica Williams may be the great living lyric poet of the piano. She is utterly magnificent.” -Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News

”I will say on record that I think she is the finest pianist of our time. And her records are bar none, the most consistently immaculate and for your hard- earned dollars, a Jessica Williams album is a no-brainer” -Fred Jung, All About Jazz

“I could review Jessica Williams' newest release in a single phrase - one of the finest solo piano albums I've ever heard ...impeccable taste, remarkable technique, pristine sound and boundless inspiration, but even those descriptions can't adequately delineate the entire package.” -Jack Bowers, All About Jazz

”This is easy. Jessica Williams doesn't make bad records.” -JazzNow, Lawrence Brazier

”Certainly she is the most poetic of all living jazz pianists... everyone who has heard her play is a little bit in love with her.” -Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News

”Jessica Williams is an outstanding jazz talent, and probably the finest improvising pianist in jazz today.” -Pat Hawes, Jazz Journal International

”Among the most lyrical and expressive pianists in jazz.” -Andrew Gilbert, Contra Costa Times

”She is simply a pianistic force of nature that will not be denied. As with her previous, releases, this will have a place on my best-of-the-year list.” -C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz

”Williams has a beautiful touch, and great fluency of both imagination and execution.” -Jazz Review, from a review of the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center, by Peter Westbrook, Jazz Review

”There is nothing Jessica Williams can't do on a piano, and she is one of jazz's most unique, talented and important voices.” -Terrell Holmes, All About Jazz

”The trio CD Live at Yoshi's: Volume One, recorded in 2003, finds the eclectic veteran demonstrating the rich and varied two-handed interplay that sets Williams apart from her peers. Despite the obvious empathy of the Williams Drummond Lewis triumvirate, the leader's dexterous work leaves little doubt that she could handle the whole shebang all by herself, if need be.” - JazzTimes Review, January 2005, Steve Futterman

Songs for a New Century on Origin Arts Vital Signs on Red and Blue Deep Monk on Red and Blue Blood Music on Red and Blue Prophets on Red and Blue Time to Burn on Red and Blue Tatum's Ultimatum on Red and Blue Nothin But the Truth on Black-Hawk Resolution on Red and Blue As Time Goes By on Red and Blue Unity on Red and Blue Equinox on Red and Blue Billy's Theme on Origin Arts The Standards Vol 1 on Red and Blue The Standards Vol 2 on Red and Blue NOW!!! on Red and Blue Jessica Plays for Lovers on Red and Blue Steps on Red and Blue Prime Time on Red and Blue Live at the JBL Theatre on Red and Blue For John Coltrane on Red and Blue The Best of Jessica Williams on Jazz Focus Heartland on Ear Art Offering on Red and Blue Rain on Red and Blue Ballads on Red and Blue Dedicated to You on Red and Blue Fantasias and Adagios on Red and Blue Blue Tuesday on Red and Blue It's Jessica's Time on Red and Blue Jazz Impressions of Spain on Red and Blue Maybeck 2001 on Red and Blue More For Monk on Red and Blue Millennial Meditations on Red and Blue Solo Compositions on Red and Blue Song for Yusef on Red and Blue The Gift on Red and Blue Virtual Miles Vol 1 on Red and Blue Virtual Miles Vol 2 on Red and Blue Without Walls on Red and Blue Arrival on Jazz Focus Blue Fire on Jazz Focus In the Key of Monk on Jazz Focus Some Ballads Some Blues on Jazz Focus Intuition on Jazz Focus Inventions on Jazz Focus Encounters on Jazz Focus Encounter II on Jazz Focus Boss of the Walking Bass on Jazz Focus Jessica's Blues on Jazz Focus Momentum on Jazz Focus Victoria Concert on Jazz Focus Intuition on Jazz Focus Inventions on Jazz Focus Live at the Seasons on Seasons Audio A Song That I Heard on Hep Ain't Misbehavin' on Candid All Alone on Maxjazz This Side Up on Maxjazz And Then There's This on Timeless Boss of the Walking Bass on Jazz Focus Epistrophy on Fantasy Gratitude on Candid Higher Standards on Candid I Let a Song Go Out of my Heart on Hep In the Pocket on Hep Jazz in the Afternoon on Candid Joy on Jazz Focus Joyful Sorrow on Blackhawk Live in the UK on Red and Blue Live at Yoshi's Vol. One on Maxjazz Live at Yoshi's Vol. Two on Maxjazz Maybeck 1992 on Concord Carolyn Graye and Jessica Williams: Songs on OA2 Records Orgonomic Music (vinyl) on Clean Cuts Portraits (2 record set, vinyl) on Adelphi Rivers of Memory (vinyl) on Clean Cuts The Next Step on Hep The Portal of Antrim (vinyl) on Adelphi The Real Deal on Hep Update (vinyl) on Clean Cuts

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