[members-announce] James Williams Memorial Concert Oct 8-9, 2004

dawnsingh dawn at dawnsinghpublicity.com
Thu Sep 23 19:17:40 EDT 2004

Contact: Dave Steadman  
800.843.2263 - 781.338.9701
dave at willowentertainment.com									       
* Brian Walkley's Willow Entertainment along with Bill Pierce of Berklee College has put together an all-star lineup to celebrate the life and music of one of jazz's greatest recent contributors, James Williams *
Jazz lost one of its greatest contributors this past July when pianist/composer James Williams passed on.  In tribute to his music and in honor of his lifelong love of jazz, Brian Walkley and Bill Pierece, in conjunction with Willow Entertainment, will present two James Williams Memorial Concerts on Friday and Saturday October 8th and 9th at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge, MA.  

James made one of his final appearances in Boston in March when he played two nights at Ryles with his Intensive Care Unit as one of the first concerts that Willow brought to the club.  It was supposed to the beginning of a beautiful musical collaboration between Ryles and James, but a cruel twist of fate ended it early.  Not long after his Boston performances, Williams was diagnosed with terminal cancer, lead to his far too premature death at the age of 53.
"I had never heard a piano player . . . who played with so much history in his music," said Bill Pierce, a friend of James who heads the woodwinds department at Berklee and played with him at various times during the past three decades.
"He delivered the full history of the piano, from stride to McCoy Tyner to the modern modal players. He was a complete musician," Pierce said. 
Not long after James death, Pierce contacted Brian Walkley, president of Willow Entertainment, who for the past twenty years had booked James in numerous clubs in Boston and New York and was a close and personal friend, to discuss putting together some special memorial performances.  Walkley immediately got to work figuring out the venue logistics while Pierce contacted every musician who had worked with Williams in the past to come and play the shows.
Ryles, the Inman Square musical institution, became the venue and Pierce brought together the players so that the lineup reads like a who's who of jazz:
Mulgrew Miller and Donald Brown on Piano, Bill Mobley and Greg Hopkins on trumpet, Andy McGhee, Bill Pierce, Bill Easley, and Javon Jackson on sax, Ron Mahdi and John Lockwood on bass, and Tony Reedus, Yoron Israel, Ron Savage, and John Ramsey on drums.  These players, all of whom have been heavily influenced from playing with James, have donated their time and talent to the Memorial Concerts.  Musicians are continuing to respond to the call to salute their fallen comrade, so expect many others to join their ranks in the coming weeks.
Gary Mitchell and Ryles have donated the club for the two nights and all proceeds from the concerts will benefit the establishment of a permanent James Williams Scholarship at Berklee College, which will help a young musician further their musical aspirations.
In spite of what most would judge to be James' significant contributions and accomplishments, he always felt compelled to do even more to move the jazz tradition forward.  He was concerned with not only preserving but also expanding the jazz legacy and because he believed jazz history is essentially aural and intimately personal, he saw a great deal of value in attending his colleagues' engagements.  In his typical fashion, he continued to study and enjoy those he considers to be the great mentors and masters of jazz: Duke, Miles, Sonny Rollins, Woody Shaw, Sarah, Carmen, the Jones Brothers, Tommy Flanagan, 'Trane, Herbie, Chick, McCoy, Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Monk, Ahmad Jamal, Nat Cole, Phineas . . . absorbing as much as time and his relentless schedule permitted.
It is in that spirit that Willow Entertainment, Brian Walkley, Bill Pierce, Ryles, and all the participating musicians are holding this concert - to help further the beauty and spirit of jazz, ensuring that while musicians may pass away, the music will never die.
James Williams Memorial Concerts
Friday and Saturday October 8th and 9th
Tickets are $30*
Ryles Jazz Club, 212 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA
CALL 617.876.9330 for reservations or visit www.ryles.com

Be sure to check out www.ryles.com for a full schedule and advance tickets.

* All proceeds benefit the establishment of a permanent James Williams Scholarship at Berklee College *

800.843.2263 - www.willowentertainment.com - 781.338.9701

Dawn Singh 
Dawn Singh Publicity
75 Rossmore Road #4
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
617-395-7743  (f)

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