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From Maryland, USA: Jessica Williams

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JJ Rocks Article # 248: From Maryland, USA: Jessica Williams

I know that I have mentioned this in previous articles, but I have always thought that some of the best musicians were from the Baltimore/DC area. And as far as the piano is concerned, Jessica Williams from my home town of Baltimore is at the top of my list.

I can remember when I first met her. It was in the early 70s and my drummer and good friend Dave Luckonen took me to her apartment. Knowing Dave, it was probably unannounced. Anyway, when the door opened, I noticed that there was a kind of hush over the room. Jessica and her drummer Vince were listening to a playback from a Teac reel to reel tape recorder. She was very still and attentive while listening, while Vince looked liked a 50s beatnik with his eyes closed while snapping his fingers. The only thing that I couldnt comprehend was the music. At that time I was playing rock and top 40 for a living, and this was real authentic jazz. So obviously since I was not in my musical realm, I just kept my mouth shut in fear of saying something stupid.

I cant remember much more about our visit. Dont forget, it was the early seventies. But after that day I didnt see Jessica Williams until somewhere around 1978 (or 79). Regardless, I had a morning mix down session at Flight 3 studios in Baltimore. But when I got there, the recording engineer Victor told me that Scott Johnson (a great musician) was producing a session with Jessica. Her looks didnt change a bit. I said hi, but I didnt want to break her concentration at the session so I just went back into the control room. It was one of her earliest albums and was about as free form jazz as you could get. But hey! I had been into that genre for a few years, and by that time and I could actually sit back and totally get into it.

That was the last time I ever saw Jessica Williams. But when I rediscovered her on U Tube and other sites, my heart skipped a few beats. I am so happy that she is still showing the highest level of musical expertise and adventurism. To me, even though she has reached the highest physical requirements (chops as we call it) on the piano, its always been her musical exploring and soul searching that makes the name Jessica Williams live inside of me.
JJ Rocks - The Spotlight Zone

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