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Jessica Williams, R.I.P.

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Sorry to hear that, though I never checked out her music. Any recommendations?

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Fine player, brave soul. RIP. I recommend these LPs to anyone new to Jessica Williams:

image.jpg?c=qfN9GGsVor__otk5ZGievCpQg_7i

image.jpg?c=MKSymPFQM8A_CnZjOChlbCpQg_7i

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Very sad.  

 

I somehow didn't pay much attention to her for a while but then later became a big fan.  She was an enormous talent.  RIP

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28 minutes ago, John L said:

I somehow didn't pay much attention to her for a while but then later became a big fan.  She was an enormous talent.  RIP

Same here. RIP.

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Posted (edited)

RIP. Greatly enjoyed her playing. Starting in the early oughts I acquired a number of recordings, but in those days she was releasing so many that I couldn't keep up. Every recording I've heard, incl. the two above from Yoshi's, is recommendable. All of the titles on Maxjazz were good, and I'd also consider solo recordings, e.g. the Maybeck volume, All Alone on Maxjazz,  etc.

Edited by T.D.

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I was introduced to her music through the Maybeck solo CD. Over time I've acquired a lot of her discography, while her Jazz Focus CDs are getting harder to find. I think she had to give up performing due to health issues, one of which was back problems.

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8 minutes ago, Ken Dryden said:

I was introduced to her music through the Maybeck solo CD. Over time I've acquired a lot of her discography, while her Jazz Focus CDs are getting harder to find. I think she had to give up performing due to health issues, one of which was back problems.

Yes, her Wikipedia entry notes: "In 2012 Williams had a spinal infusion with internal instrumentation at Swedish Hospital's Neurosurgery Unit at Seattle, WA and subsequently lost her ability to perform."

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1 minute ago, BillF said:

Yes, her Wikipedia entry notes: "In 2012 Williams had a spinal infusion with internal instrumentation at Swedish Hospital's Neurosurgery Unit at Seattle, WA and subsequently lost her ability to perform."

That’s awful. She must have been in so much pain prior to that operation. RIP. I really need to check out more of her work.

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21 minutes ago, T.D. said:

Starting in the early oughts I acquired a number of recordings, but in those days she was releasing so many that I couldn't keep up. 

Her Selected Discography in Wikipedia lists 42 albums!

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1 hour ago, Joe said:

Fine player, brave soul. RIP. I recommend these LPs to anyone new to Jessica Williams:

image.jpg?c=qfN9GGsVor__otk5ZGievCpQg_7i

image.jpg?c=MKSymPFQM8A_CnZjOChlbCpQg_7i

Seconded.

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R.I.P.

She was a wonderful pianist & musician.

 

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I spent my late teens and early twenties sitting behind Jessica, watching her play at the Keystone Korner.  Thanks, and RIP.

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Posted (edited)

R.I.P. I have a number of Jessica's recordings, including all her recordings on the Canadian Jazz Focus label which Ken mentioned (that label is a story in itself). She was a great pianist, and could swing like crazy, especially when she was playing with Leroy Vinnegar. 

Edited by John Tapscott

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This is hitting me hard as I knew it would.  I met Jessica in the late 80s after she moved from San Francisco.  She played every Wednesday night at the On Broadway for years and I was there most of those nights.  She used to put on house concerts in her home for a $5 donation and everyone brought food and beverages for a potluck.  It was a good environment to hear her and I met many people including some I am still good friends with.  She moved quite a bit over the years but we always kept in touch.  She was a deep thinker.  We had many a long phone conversation over the years. She could really talk when she got on a roll!  
I loved the way she deconstructed standards and few people could play Monk as well as her imo.  Blazing fast when she wanted to be, she slowed her technique down in her later years which I applauded as she didn’t have anything to prove anymore.  I have all but a few of her cds, over thirty cassettes and her early lps so you can say I’m a bit of a fan.  
Currently listening to Inventions on Jazz Focus from 1995 which is one of many, many fine albums she made over her lifetime.  I could go on but trying to avoid tl/dr.  RIP Jessica.  I love you and you’ll always be in my heart. 

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Damn!  She was a great player.  I managed to see her twice during some of her too infrequent trips to the east.

RIP.  You'll be missed.

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Sorry to hear this, RIP. Never got to see her perform sadly.

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On 3/17/2022 at 11:01 AM, funkytonk said:

Sad news. I just played one of her records about a week ago and was wondering how she was doing. I knew she was in poor health. I went to look at her website but it had been taken offline. I heard about her passing via this tribute by Ted Gioia.

https://tedgioia.substack.com/p/remembering-jazz-pianist-jessica?s=r

Thanks for the link.  Really well done and gets to what made her playing so special.  I’ve seen her more than any other musician and own more albums by her than anyone.  Every performance was special.  I’ve been listening to her Jazz Focus cds lately instead of her “newer” stuff and it’s brought back wonderful memories.  

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Hugely important for the trans community, as one of the first trans musicians, in the sense she didn't have to hide her identity, unlike Billy Tipton for exxample

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15 hours ago, CJ Shearn said:

Hugely important for the trans community, as one of the first trans musicians, in the sense she didn't have to hide her identity, unlike Billy Tipton for exxample

Indeed.  

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