Complete Master Takes 1954-1955

By Norwood, Doug | IAJRC Journal, March 2009 | Go to article overview

Complete Master Takes 1954-1955


Norwood, Doug, IAJRC Journal


John Williams Trio

Complete Master Takes 1954-1955

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 405

John Williams (p) Bill Anthony (b) Frank Isola (d), New York City, July 1954 : I'll Take the Low Road/Out of This World/ Railroad Jack

Same, New York City, August 13 1954 : For Heaven's Sake/ Williams Tell/Be Careful, It's My Heart/Blue Mirror/ Somewhere In the Night

John Williams (p) Bill Anthony (b) Jack Edie (d), New York City, June 15 1955 : Baubles, Bangles and Beads/Good Morning Heartache/Someday My Prince Will Come/Manteca

John Williams (p) Chuck Andrus (b) Frank Isola (d), New York City, June 24 1955 : How Strange

John Williams (p) Ernie Farrow (b) Frank Isola (d), New York City, October 11 1955 : Flamingo/A Sleeping Bee/The Girl NextDoor/Shiloh/Good Morning Blues/Okeefenokee Holiday/Like Someone In Love TT: 66:46

The Stan Getz Quintet of 1953 introduced two exciting young performers to the jazz authence, an adventurous valve trombonist named Bob Brookmeyer and a busy hard driving pianist named John Thomas Williams. Brookmeyer, of course, became a household name over subsequent years but the promising John Williams, despite playing and recording with some of the best jazzmen of the day, seemingly disappeared from the jazz landscape after 1956.

Williams' influences included not only pianists such as Bud Powell, Horace Silver and Hank Jones but also other instrumentalists, most notably Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, both of whom he idolized. At no time, however, did he come off as a mere imitator but incorporated these varied influences into a very personal style with a rolling, churning way of comp'ing, and solos which were joyous, driving and inventive. During the four years during which he was active, he was very much a part of what might be thought of as the 'East Coast Clique' and in addition to Getz and Brookmeyer, he also recorded with most of the other regulars including the aforementioned Sims and Cohn, Phil Woods, Nick Travis, Jimmy Cleveland and many others.

Could it be that one element in John Williams' failure to become better known was the unfortunate fact of his name? Lord's discography lists twenty eight musicians named John Williams (some with slight variations) and that doesn't even count the conductor and classical guitarist!

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