Shock! - Gareth Williams Power Trio - Mojo
Despite his considerable reputation earned via a string of prestigious sideman appearances and a longstanding role as MD for award-winning singer Claire Martin, there has been a sense among Gareth Williams' admirers that this prodigiously gifted pianist was somehow underselling himself. Shock! rectifies that. With his Power Trio (equating 'power' with "inner conviction... telling it like it is", as he has it) , Williams has fashioned a multi-hued, irony-free jazz concept featuring his dream team of Lawrence Cottle (electric bass) and lan Thomas (drums). All original, save a romp through Giant Steps and a 7/4 Autumn Leaves, the music ranges from the tough funk of the title track to the skewed Bob Jamesisms of A Welshman In New York, through a hymnal tribute to his Welsh roots and a free-flowing nod to Bill Evans. A joyous, uncompromising celebration of sophistication, musicality and muscularity, it's shockingly good.