Shock! - Gareth Williams Power Trio - Jazzwise

Forty-year-old pianist Williams has been a colourful presence on the UK jazz circuit since the mid-1990s in a MD/arranger/accompanist role for Claire Martin and as sideman for premier UK musicians such as Iain Ballamy, Clark Tracey, Jim Mullen and Tommy Smith, and the likes of visiting US stars Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano. But this is only the second CD recorded under his name. The first in 2001 was a Live at Ronnie's acoustic trio set; this is Williams' ‘electric' side.

The title and band name rather overstate the case though; Williams hasn't entered into a Dylan-type electric conversion here. Along with a first-call session rhythm section of drummer Ian Thomas and bassist Laurence Cottle who play with fluency and finesse throughout, Shock! finds an intelligent middle ground between acoustic jazz indebted primarily to Evans, Tyner and Jarrett, and more riffy elements drawn from R&B and rock sources. There is a feeling that the trio, now three years together, has absorbed all this into a sound of their own rather than passing in and out of genres. Regardless of the approach, Williams' originals are written, arranged and played by the trio with both taste and restraint.

26 February 2009