Thursday, December 25, 2008

Steve Williamson: A Waltz For Grace

Steve Williamson was part of a late 1980s-early 1990s British Invasion of jazzers, that also included Courtney Pine (both of whom played together with the UK's Jazz Warriors). The impression I get is that both musicians were initially considered part of the so-called "young lions" who had endeavored to return jazz to its pre-fusion and pre-free jazz roots, but both as time went on, had other ideas. This particular album, A Waltz for Grace (dedicated to his grandmother), is Steve William's first as a band leader. It's basically a post bop recording with some interesting funk and Latin flourishes throughout. It's also the more coherent of the two albums of his that I have in my possession, and one that I enjoy listening to in its entirety from start to finish whenever I have the time. Whether the album had enough going for it to stand out from the rest of the early 1990s post bop field is debatable, and I get the feeling that its critical reception was fairly mixed. Still, I think it's quite nice and certainly worth a listen. We'll just add it to the list of woulda-coulda-shoulda recordings that now languish in some corporate conglomerate's vaults.

Steve Williamson - All Saxophones plus Additional Percussion (on UK Sessions)
Mark Mondesir - Drums
Lonnie Plaxico - Bass (US Sessions)
Gary Crosby - Bass (UK Sessions)
Dave Gilmore - Guitar (US Sessions)
Julian Joseph - Guitar (UK Sessions)
Abbey Lincoln - Vocals (track 4)
Kevin Haynes - Additional Percussion (on UK Sessions)

1. Down (Slang) (3:18)
2. Awakening (4:35)
3. Visions (4:29)
4. A Waltz For Grace (4:15)
5. Mandy's Mood (5:49)
6. Soon Come (4:14)
7. Straight Ahead (4:45)
8. Mandela (4:29)
9. Groove Thang (1:42)
10. Synthesis (4:59)
11. Hummingbird (5:41)
12. How High The Bird (4:22)
13. Words Within Words (5:01)

Download A Waltz For Grace