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Heart Song

Al Williams III

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Reseña de álbum

It isn't hard to understand why smooth jazz is the whipping boy of jazz reviewers. Much of the shlock that American smooth jazz/NAC stations play is boring, mechanical, robotic, and devoid of soul. But if one considers Grover Washington, Jr., David Sanborn, and early Ronnie Laws part of smooth jazz, then one has to say that some smooth jazz has artistic merit; Washington's Mister Magic album, in fact,, is a classic. Al Williams III's Heart Song won't go down in history as a classic, but it is a generally decent, if uneven, effort that is far superior to most of the bloodless elevator music that smooth jazz/NAC programmers have favored in the 1990s and in the 21st century. Heart Song has its dull moments: Williams' unimaginative cover of Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years" is among the throwaways. Williams should have soared on that 1980s gem, but instead, his radio-oriented version is nothing more than lethargic background music. The good news, however, is that most of Heart Song is worthwhile. Williams is a skillful tenor, alto, and soprano saxman with a strong Washington influence that carries over to his flute playing (which owes something to Hubert Laws and Herbie Mann as well as Mister Magic), and most of the time, he successfully balances commercial and artistic considerations. Tracks like "Sun Dance," "Skylight Drive," and "Midnight in Morocco" have a lot of pop appeal, but they also have an edge and demonstrate that Williams is aware of smooth jazz's soul-jazz heritage (Washington, it should be noted, was greatly influenced by heavyweights like Gene Ammons, Stanley Turrentine, and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis). Heart Song isn't nearly as risk-taking as it could have been, but it has more pluses than minuses — and more often than not, Williams reminds us that smooth jazz doesn't have to be mindless drivel.

Biografía

Género: Jazz

Años de actividad: '90s, '00s

A blues-based pianist who played with trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen, trumpeter Buck Clayton, and saxophonist Johnny Hodges, among others, Williams lived in Chicago from an early age. He studied piano as a child and began playing professionally in Chicago around 1935. He formed a 12-piece dance band around 1936, and a trio in 1942. During the '40s he played with such musicians as Allen, clarinetist Jimmy Noone, and bandleader Erskine Tate. In the late '40s Williams played in a duo with his wife, singer...
Biografía completa
Heart Song, Al Williams III
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  • USD 9.99
  • Géneros: Jazz, Música
  • Publicado: 01/07/2008

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