Claude Williamson - piano
Born Claude Berkeley Williamson, 18 November 1926, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA. After studying piano formally at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, Williamson turned to playing jazz in the late 40s. He first worked with Charlie Barnet, where he was featured on Claude Reigns, then with Red Norvo and also briefly led his own small group. In the early 50s he toured with Bud Shank before settling in Los Angeles, where he led a trio for many years.
He played too with Tal Farlow, appeared in the second edition of the Lighthouse All-Stars with Shank, Rolf Ericson, Bob Cooper and Max Roach, and recorded with Art Pepper. Among Williamson's better-known compositions is Aquarium, recorded by the All-Stars in 1954. His trio work kept him busy but musically static for several years. However, in the late 70s and early 80s he toured Japan and the records he made there spurred his career.
Although he began as mainstream player, Williamson later adapted to bop and most of his subsequent work reflects this interest. Although little known on the international scene, Japan apart, his work bears much closer attention than it has usually enjoyed. His brother Stu Williamson was a jazz trumpeter.