Al Williams III
When you listen to music of artists like
Gerry Brown, John Lee, Stanley Clarke, Hubert Laws, Chick Corea,
Earl Klugh, Rodney Franklin
and Lenny White, there
is a good chance, that you listen to the sax of Al Williams. I
love his performance on Exodus Quartet's
Summer Soulstice and recently I reviewed N-Groove's It's Who We
Are (2007), on which Al played a prominent role with his soprano
That said it's a great pleasure to review Al
Williams' third solo project Heart Song (2008). His previous
albums Never Too Late (1998) and See For Yourself (2003)
received rave reviews and high accolades by critics and audience. His
new album was produced by John Stoddart, who also performed keyboards
and programming with the exception of the second track Skyline
Drive. Stoddartís major label debut was his album Wings To Walk
This Road on Reprise Records.
Starter of the album is Heart Song.
Al reveals his mellow treat of a heartfelt ballade in the tradition of
Grover Washington Jr. and Kirk Whalum. Skyline Drive is the
right sound collage for a car drive through your favorite metropolis.
Spyro Gyra members Tom Schuman and Scott Ambush support Al on this
The African country Morocco plays an
important role in smooth jazz. Recently I reported about Jason Miles'
trip to the Casablanca Jazz Festival during his Global Noize tour. The
fascination of this mysterious country has also inspired Al Williams
to the song Midnight In Morocco. The song is featuring
Aaron Broadus on trumpet. Aaron is a professor of music at the
Georgetown University and earned merits with shows of Ray Charles,
Aretha Franklin and other legends.
I'm Going To Love You presents
crooner Ron Gutierrez. His smooth voice and dynamic stage presence
have established him as one of the regionís top entertainers and a
favorite among the Kansas Cityís top-tier jazz musicians. One Hundred Ways
was a great hit of Quincey Jones and James Ingram. Al's rendition is
close to the original, no emotions are lost.
On Sun Dance Al exchange the sax
for the flute showcasing his excellent prowess of this instrument.
John Stoddart wrote the song If You Really Need Me Now for
Patti Austin's album On the Way to Love (2001). On Al's album
John is singing his ballade himself and it's convincingly fresh. More
of Al's mellow flute sound is to find on his composition Just Us.
Mick "Red Hucknall" founded with other
musicians the British group Simply Red in 1984. One year later Simply
Red released their album Picture Book. The song Holding Back
The Years topped the U.S. charts and was numerously covered. Al
Williams' rendition shows a personal interpretation of this awesome
song. On I Never Thought Al and John shines on their reputable
George Gershwin composed the song
Someone To Watch Over Me for the musical Oh, Kay! (1926). Today
it's a jazz standard and again Al keeps it contemporary.
Al Williams' album Heart Song is neither
onomatopoeic nor vociferous. This picturesque sound work decorates
melodies with meanders, gentle, smooth, unobtrusive but with a view to
- Al Williams - Website
- Buy the album at
- Title: Heart Song
Artist: Al Williams III
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: First Step Records
01 Heart Song [3:53]
02 Skyline Drive [3:56]
03 Midnight In Morocco [3:45]
04 I'm Going To Love You [4:34]
05 One Hundred Ways [4:16]
06 Sun Dance [4:41]
07 If You Really Need Me Now [3:55]
08 Just Us [4:29]
09 Holding Back The Years [3:55]
10 I Never Thought [4:39]
11 Someone To Watch Over Me [3:07]