Archives: March 2023

  • A Birthday Tribute to James Williams

    We were already working on some songs by James Williams when we realized it's his birthday today (March 8) - as good a day as any to add them to Four of James' songs are newly available. All of them are lyrical, concise, and memorable in his distinctive style; each of these songs has a form only 16 measures long. Two of them were recorded on James' second album as a leader, "Everything I Love." Thoughts is a gentle, introspective Latin song; a piano part is available showing James' intro and fills from the recording. For My Nephews is a beautiful, warm-toned 3/4 song that has been recorded quite a number of times; besides the quartet version on "Everything I Love", James played it in duo settings with bassists Dennis Irwin and Ray Drummond, as well as another quartet with saxophonist Clifford Jordan. James' solo piano arrangement of this song is also available with an exclusive recording by Kenny Drew, Jr.

    Wishful Thinking comes from James' third album as a leader, "Images (Of Things To Come)." A bright-sounding song despite its minor key, it was recorded with a funky Latin-rock feel but could also work with other kinds of grooves. Finally, Roadlife is one of James' most fun songs, a swinging 16-measure blues. First recorded by James with an all-star trio with Ray Brown and Elvin Jones, we also have a video of a large ensemble performance led by pianist Jonathan Batiste. It's been recorded by several other pianists including Mulgrew Miller, Eric Reed and Glenn Zaleski.

    One of James' nephews was the drummer Tony Reedus, who we are now also introducing as a composer on The Far Side is the title track on Tony's first album as a leader; it's an uptempo burner with plenty of drum breaks. We also have his rhythmic minor blues head Minor Thang. Tony's album "The Far Side" also has two songs by pianist Jonny King, now available as well: the uptempo The Stumbling Block and the bossa Song Of Gideon. Both have challenging, inventive changes in Jonny's signature style.

    One more composer - also a drummer - is newly represented: Steve Johns. We've featured Steve in several of our exclusive Minus You tracks, but now we have two lyrical, laid-back songs of his on Deep Blue and River's Edge were both recorded by two bands: Bill Moring's Way Out East and the quartet Native Soul.

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