Thursday, March 31, 2011

Marty Williams's Old School Soul Jazz: "Long Time Comin'"

Marty Williams works within a style most definitely old-school. He has a piano approach that owes something to the original funk players (the gospel-soul tinged sensibility of Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons, etc.). He sings in a soulful husky voice that reminds just a little of Gil Scott-Heron. Then he has a rootsy band of himself on piano, plus guitar, bass and drums. So in a way his music is an extension of those small group outings of Les McCann or Mose Allison. His Long Tome Comin" (In A Moon Bay Records) album hits a spot that to me refreshes that style and refreshes the ears like a sorbet between courses (not that I have the life-style right now that involves such niceties).

He covers a good selection of pop standards ("Love for Sale"), jazz standards ("Monk's Dream"), rock standards ("Come Together"), soul-jazz standards ("Compared to What"), soul standards ["Brother (Where Are You")], and he does it all in his own down-home, swinging way. The band sounds like they've been playing together for a while too. They are a well-oiled tight-loose organization that has room for Eric Swinderman's guitar and Marty's piano. There is some interesting rearranging too--like on "Monk's Dream."

After 25 years on the San Francisco jazz scene, Marty has arrived. Long Time Comin' is an apt description of it all. He makes music that makes me glad he's here.


  1. It's good that musicians can still borrow from the past like Marty Williams. He's versatile because he covers rock and pop. Long Time comin should be very exciting.


  2. Thanks for your comment, JM. It's a good listen!