Emarcy A&R man Bob Shad (later owner of the Flying Dutchman label) offers
advice to John Williams during the pianist's trio date. Bob Parent photo
Another in our piano series ...
Vermont native John Williams has has long been eclipsed by his classical and pop namesake, but at the time of this recording – 1954 – he was a rising young star with real promise in the jazz idiom. A tasteful soloist and occasional composer, he had joined Charlie Barnet's big band in 1951 after a stint in the Army (where he played baritone horn!) and then moved on to Stan Getz's quartet, his steady gig at the time of this Emarcy recording. This EP contains four of the eight tunes that eventually comprised Williams' first recording as a leader, but they give a good sampling of John's skill as a soloist – nothing flashy, just thoughtful and swinging. Williams would go on to make a second record for Mercury (Emarcy) and record as a sideman with such luminaries as Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and Cannonball Adderley. The critics applauded this first effort, as can be seen in the Metronome review from May 1955 above (of the complete LP).
Frank Isola, drums
1. I'll Take the Lo Road