In a career spanning four decades drummer Jeff Williams' musical associates have included Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman and Lookout Farm, Joe Lovano, Paul Bley, Bill McHenry, Ethan Iverson, Tony Malaby, and many more. During the 1990's Jeff performed with his own quintet and released two CDs of original compositions: Coalescence (SteepleChase) and Jazzblues (Cathexis). Since 2007 he has been based both in New York and London. In the UK Jeff has performed with Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, and has toured with McHenry, Konitz, the Phil Robson/Dave Liebman Quartet, and Martin Speake's Change of Heart (with Bobo Stenson). Jeff has also collaborated with The Hans Koller Quartet, Sextet and Big Band, Mike Gibbs Big Band, Nikki Iles, Kit Downes, Olie Brice, Alex Bonney, Alex Merritt, Barry Green and more.
"This had been an excellent show, occasionally poignant but more often highly exciting with some exceptional playing all round. However it was Williams intelligent writing and perceptive prompting from behind the kit that set the tone for the performance."
Lee Konitz was one of the first iconic saxophonists I was fortunate to play with when I arrived in New York in the early 1970s. Lee heard me with Stan Getz and asked me to play with him at the Half Note, a thrill in itself. Over the years we have played in all sorts of situations and in many countries. I have also recorded with him on several occasions. In every case I learned more from him about the art of improvisation and the importance of sound than from anyone. He is a brave and true improvisor. First Meeting is the latest installment of our association, my longest lasting. Thanks to Michael Janisch for putting it together, and, along with Dan Tepfer, for creating a rhythm section up to the task of Lee's adventures. -Jeff Williams
In New York Jeff performs with his US Quartet featuring Duane Eubanks, John O'Gallagher and John Hébert The group toured the United Kingdom in May 2012 and recorded
The Best CDs of 2013 byAll About Jazz C. Michael Bailey's Best Recordings of 2013
Published: December 11, 2013
"It may be a poor- man's explanation, but here it goes: bebop begat hard bop begat the freer post-bop. Free jazz emerged among them. What next? Jeff Williams' The Listener. The greater freedom of post bop compared to its predecessor is given more freedom, but not so much that the music descends into the ravenous particles of John Coltrane In Japan (Impulse!, 1973)."
18 Jeff Williams The Listener Whirlwind RecordingsHuman scale live recording Williams superbly Motian-like in one of the most considered albums of the year
The Listener is a logical extension of its two-years-older studio sibling, but it's not the same; these four men have extended the boundaries of their own work and strengthened the connective tissue that binds them. Williams' work with this quartet is special and deserves continued exploration." -All About Jazz
"The Listener's cutting-edge expertise and unwavering emphasis on improvisation makes this thoroughly contemporary music...It's a set of hot-and-cool Ornette Colemanesque themes, hip postbop and slow-burn reflections performed, on this live recording, by Williams' New York quartet." 4 Stars, The Guardian
"The Listener is not merely a throwback to Coleman in the way that the Black Crowes is to the Faces and Rolling Stones; rather it is the acknowledgement and development of an idea after the white-heat of its creation has cooled...Exceptional sonics and creative comaraderie." All About Jazz
"Music that seethes with intelligence, creativity and zest. This is a glorious record, varied, full of subtleties and surprises. Remember those days when you were in a record shop and your heard a track that was a must-buy and you couldn't rest until you had the CD. The Listener is like that." Jazz Views
"Jeff Williams has honed a sound that seamlessly blends a sinewy, propulsive rhythmic sense with a masterful appreciation of space and atmosphere. On Another Time, Williams leads a remarkable group through a series of original compositions that are prefect vehicles for the veteran drummer's singular approach, as well as the quartet's consistently inspired improvisations." --Matthew Miller The New York City Jazz Record
**** "...The ease of movement between ambiguously floating rhythms and snappy polyrhythmic swing is seductive...these elegantly intricate deliberations make for absorbing contemporary jazz." --John Fordham The Guardian