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Album Review

Roger Williams (piano) had already become a commercial and critically acclaimed pianist with over a dozen long-players in his rapidly growing catalog. Till (1957) became his second Top Ten album, with the title track also scoring a Top 40 single. Williams was a musical prodigy at a very early age, and his skills as both an emotive performer and noted arranger became a trademark of his easy listening and lightly orchestrated pop platters. This title is prototypical of the fare that established and sustained his success, with a dozen primarily instrumental pop standards from fairly disparate origins. In fact, this release goes a step further with inspired readings of a pair of classical derivations in the form of "Brahms' A Flat Waltz" and "Moonlight Love," the latter of which is based on Debussy's Clair de Lune. Part of Williams' unique execution is the precision and seemingly limitless legerdemain that he brings to the keyboard. "April Love" is given a lush and romantic setting with an airy, orchestrated introduction to Williams' mid-tempo flourishes that augment and further the score. The noir and moody "Jalousie" unleashes a torrent of the pianist's dextrous runs and emphatic chord progressions. This contrasts the quiet placidity of "Fascination" and the comparatively simplistic intimacy of the haunting and lingering "Tammy." Williams forgoes all pretension on the aforementioned classics that conclude this effort, as the melodies are slightly revised and incorporated into decidedly austere modernizations that work surprisingly well. In 2004, Collectors' Choice Music issued Till on CD, pairing it with its follow-up, Near You (1958). Not only is this disc a perfect place for interested parties to begin their discovery of Roger Williams, to contemporary ears it has likewise aged remarkably well.


Born: 01 October 1924 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Pianist Roger Williams' sweeping, sparkling arpeggios, showy technique, and gentle easy listening arrangements made him one of the most popular pop instrumentalists of the late '50s and '60s. Like many other easy listening musicians, he blurred the boundaries between pop, jazz, and classical, creating a smooth, relaxing hybrid....
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Till, Roger Williams
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