John Williams (pianist)
John Thomas Williams (January 28, 1929 – December 2018) was an American jazz pianist.
Williams was born in Windsor, Vermont on January 28, 1929. He began playing piano at age eight and joined a local ensemble at twelve; he also learned organ, playing in church as a teenager. In March 1945, he embarked on a six-month tour as a member of Mal Hallett's band, having not yet completed high school.
Later life and career
Late in the 1940s he played with Johnny Bothwell and Teddy Kotick, and at the end of the decade he relocated from Vermont to New York City. After playing a gig with Charlie Parker at the end of 1950, he served in the military during the Korean War (1951–53), playing low brass in Army bands. After the war, he returned to New York, where he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, formed his own trio ensemble, and recorded widely as a sideman. His associations around this time included Charlie Barnet, Stan Getz, Sal Salvador, Charlie Mariano, Cannonball Adderley, Jimmy Cleveland, Phil Woods, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Jimmy Raney, and Lon Norman.
Williams also recorded two albums as a leader for EmArcy Records in the mid-1950s. His eponymous debut was a trio album, with bassist Bill Anthony and drummer Frank Isola, and was recorded in 1954. The follow up was also a trio record, with various other musicians, and was made in 1955. The two were released on one CD by Fresh Sound.
Disillusioned with the jazz life in New York, Williams decided to move to Florida, where he played for a time as a pianist in Miami Beach, then receded from performance. He worked as a city commissioner from 1971 to 1991 and held a position in a banking firm while still occasionally playing locally. He also was a regular performer at an annual music festival in Hollywood, Florida, where he played with Bob Brookmeyer, Buddy DeFranco, Terry Gibbs, and Scott Hamilton. In 1987, he appeared with Spike Robinson in Clearwater, Florida. This appearance, plus a piece published in Jazz Journal International in 1994, "helped bring Williams back to the attention of the jazz world", and he recorded two albums in the 1990s. He died on December 14 or 15, 2018.
Williams was "strongly influenced by Bud Powell and Horace Silver". AllMusic described him as "Inventive, forceful, with a commanding sense of swing and, importantly, a workmanlike view of the true role of the pianist in both mainstream and bop settings".
|1954||John Williams||EmArcy||Trio, with Bill Anthony (bass), Frank Isola (drums)|
|1955||John Williams Trio||EmArcy||Trio|
|1990s?||Welcome Back||Marshmallow||With Spike Robinson (tenor sax), Jeff Grubbs (bass), Frank Isola (drums)|
|1953||Stan Getz||Interpretations by the Stan Getz Quintet||Norgran|
|1953||Stan Getz||Interpretations by the Stan Getz Quintet #2||Norgran|
|1953–54||Stan Getz||Interpretations by the Stan Getz Quintet #3||Norgran|
|1954||Stan Getz||Stan Getz at The Shrine||Norgran|
|1955||Cannonball Adderley||Julian "Cannonball" Adderley||EmArcy|
|1998||Spike Robinson||The C.T.S. Session||Hep|
- Kernfeld, Barry (2003), Williams, John (ii), Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, retrieved January 4, 2019, (Subscription required (help))
- Myers, Marc (December 18, 2018). "John Thms. Williams (1929–2018)". jazzwax.com.
- Ramsey, Doug (April 18, 2006). "THAT John Williams". Rifftides.
- "John Williams". AllMusic. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- Ramsey, Doug (December 20, 2018). "John Williams Has Died". Rifftides.
- "Artists". marshmallow-records.com. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- "Stan Getz Catalog: norgran-mgn-1000". jazzdisco.org. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- "Stan Getz Catalog: norgran-mgn-1008". jazzdisco.org. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- "Stan Getz Catalog: norgran-mgn-1029". jazzdisco.org. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- Nastos, Michael G. "Cannonball Adderley: Julian "Cannonball" Adderley". AllMusic. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- Ramsey, Doug (April 20, 2006). "Comments: John Williams". Rifftides.
- Chell, Samuel (November 8, 2006). "Spike Robinson: The CTS Session". All About Jazz.