Flying Colors – James Williams
A simple, light-toned song from James' first album. The second half of the head is a vamp which is open for a piano solo or ensemble improvisation.
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- Recording: James Williams - Flying Colors
- Recorded on: July 6, 1977
- Label: Zim (ZMS 2005)
- Concert Key: C
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Latin (Samba)
- Trombone - Slide Hampton
- Flute - Bill Easley
- Soprano Sax - Billy Pierce
- Electric Piano - James Williams
- Bass - Sylvester Sample
- Drums - James Baker
The head is played twice. On the recording, the piano solos over the vamp both times through the in head. The out head has the horns improvising together on the vamp the first time; in the last chorus the vamp is replaced with a final D♭7 chord. There is also an intro, 16 measures of vamp on D♭m7 to resolve to Cmaj7 at the beginning of the head.
Our audio clip contains the entire track from the "Flying Colors" album, which is very rare and never came out on CD. If you try to play along with the original album, or with the Youtube videos made directly from it, you'll find that the pitch is very sharp. To make our audio clip here, we've lowered the pitch so you'll be in tune if you play with the recording.
March 8, 1951 – July 20, 2004
James Williams' distinguished career began in the city in which he was raised: Memphis, Tennessee. Having taken up piano at the age of thirteen, he graduated from Memphis State University in the early seventies and threw himself into his city's jazz community. Only a year after attaining his degree, Williams was hired as a professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Coming to a new city opened up an entirely new scene for the young pianist, who began to play as a sideman for visiting artists like Red Norvo, Art Farmer, Sonny Stitt and Milt Jackson. When Art Blakey met him in 1977, he convinced the then-26 year-old Williams to resign from Berklee and go on tour with the Jazz Messengers, a post he held for the next four years and with whom he would win a Grammy Award nomination for the album "Straight Ahead." Read more...