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Superb debut as a leader for who was for years the subtle and refined accompanist of Shirley Horn. He shows here an other side of his personality, more powerful, close to musicians like Victor Lewis or Billy Hart, who absorbed the heritage of Blakey and Elvin Jones. He comes from Washington (like Horn, Bowie, Roney…) and studied at the University of Miami, where he met Carmen Lundy and Bobby Watson. He pursues his real education in New York in the early eighties, in Art Blakey’s entourage. Besides his collaboration with Shirley Horn he works with Clifford Jordan, Larry Willis, John Hicks or Stanley Cowell.
All of this gives a pretty good idea of the setting of his music which sparkles here, with different nuances: the energy of New York with Roy Hargrove (Fulton), the nocturnal and compound poesy of Dom’s song (with a sober Donvonte McCoy), the funk in 5/4 (Late Nite Rap), the diaphanous melody of Along my way with the lyricism of Gary Bartz, the volcanic swing of Song for the Petty ones.
The soloists are perfectly sharpened and the seducing music of Steve Williams doesn’t miss aggressiveness or sensibility. A true musical project, a real personality of instrumentalist and a surrounding in full sympathy with a determined leader: in short, an album of inspired jazz.


Translated from the review by Jean Szlamowicz in Jazz Hot, February 2007