CD REVIEW: Jeff Williams – Lifelike



Jeff Williams – Lifelike
(Whirlwind Recordings. CD review by Frank Griffith)

Brooklyn and London-resident American drummer, Jeff Williams has released Lifelike, extracting new and inspired energy from a bevy of  younger Brit and US players. It balances a post-modern jazz approach with a sensibility to roam and flow freely. The live recording, made at the Vortex in London, captures the ensemble in fine form, mixing old and new originals from Williams' pen.

American altoist, John O'Gallagher's edgy sophistication blends well with the angular boptisms of British tenor saxist, Josh Arcoleo, providing this listener with evidence of a contrasting yet well-honed partnership.

Lisbon-born trumpeter Gonçalo Marquez, offers textural scope, and warmth and breadth of improvisational range to the mix as well. In his liner notes, the leader writes: "That he (Marquez) was brave enough to jump into the fray with no rehearsal speaks volumes and his composition (Cancao do Amoladar) was a highlight." A haunting melody that veers between brassy excitement and meditative introspection stands out on the disc.

Williams has done brilliantly to bring his deep-rooted 1960s jazz heritage forwards through working with players of subsequent generations. He thereby combines a strong sense of the continuing traditon with an imperative to look forwards. It is a compelling combination.

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