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Grand session

Along its young history , jazz distributed a few titles of nobility: we had a king (Nat “King” Cole), a duke (Duke Ellington) and a count (Count Basie). Not to mention a few dozens of musicians without any title but who could have claimed one. In the aristocracy of jazz, the drummer Steve Williams is, without any doubt, a kind of country squire, a musician without estate, always serving the others. But he acquired his titles of nobility serving the greatest, and in particular the queen Shirley Horn.
It is only now that he delivers, at 50, his first record as a leader. And he is not lonely for this first recording session under his name. Some of the greatest American musicians attended; the trumpet Roy Hargrove, the saxophonists Gary Bartz and Antoine Roney, the bassist Michael Bowie. On the piano, it is a French musician, Olivier Hutman, who has to be noticed. The playing and the sound of the trumpet Donvonte McCoy, the less famous of the group, draws attention too.
(…) This record is a splendor. The band sounds and swings wonderfully. It revivals the kind of emotion that you only feel listening to the great sessions from the sixties. And this little “vintage” touch doesn’t mean that he music is old-fashioned. Far from it! The compositions, signed by Steve Williams or other musicians from the band are dazzling («Fulton & Lafayette », « In The Moment», «Late Nite Rap», « Song For The Petty Ones »,« Fluid Exchange », «New Incentive»...). You catch yourself humming them.
Let’s thank the small label Elabeth for producing this recording, bursting with blues, which will please music-lovers as well as neophytes. It is one of those that gives the strength to get up in the morning and the will to stretch out the night.


Translated from the review by Renaud Czarnes in Les Echos January 26, 2007