Shock! - Gareth Williams Power Trio - The Guardian

On the face of it, this could be the kind of classy but conservative offering of a front-rank UK jazz musician at home in a world of standard song-shapes, cool funk, postbop jazz phrasing and bass solos. But though Gareth Williams is a formidable jazz pianist influenced by Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner and Keith Jarrett, he has a broad musical awareness (he's a classical fan, singer and guitarist) that makes this piano-trio set hold its own in an overpopulated jazz field. A couple of bland soft-funky openers on Fender Rhodes don't sound promising, but a scalding account of Giant Steps demonstrates Williams's delicate touch and speed of thought at a flying tempo, and his Bill Evans harmonic imagination is revealed on impassioned ballads such as Zelda. The gospel theme For Alun Lewis, Hedd Wyn and the Others is a standout, and the bass and drum partnership of Laurence Cottle and Ian Thomas keeps the music simmering without getting in the leader's way, even if the solo space for Cottle's singing bass-guitar might have been trimmed a little.

The Guardian
13 March 2009