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Bay Area jazz pianist and vocalist, Marty Williams, was called â€œThe Catalystâ€ by San Francisco Chronicle critic Phil Elwood. Anna DeLeon of Annaâ€™s Jazz Island said: â€œMarty Williams is one of the Bay Areaâ€™s treasures. His piano playing and singing are passionate, humorous, and unique. Think Oscar Brown Jr. plus Mose Allison plus Monk with just a dash of Redd Foxx! Yes, unique!â€
Martyâ€™s formal training came well after he received his â€œcallingâ€â€”he tells the story of Â listening to Ahmad Jamal’s album â€œVoicesâ€ as a turning point for him. Listening to that album and pondering the questions a young man faces in his life, Marty knew his destiny was to play the piano. As with so many great jazz pianists, Martyâ€™s spirit taught him how to play the music he felt.
Throughout his career Marty has played at numerous venues and with many other notable musicians in the US and abroad. Providing us with a glimpse of what fuels Mr. Williamâ€™s performances, he revealed,â€œIâ€™ve suffered devastating loss and a miraculous second chance at life in my 60s. My music gives me away of sharing that pain and joy with my audience. Iâ€™m always moved by how we connect as fellow human beings through the shared experience of listening to the sounds of skins, keys, strings, and voice.â€
He’s been part of the San Francisco jazz scene well over 25 years and plays regularly with world-class musicians, guitarist Eric Swinderman, bassist, Ruth Davies and drummers, Ranzel Merritt and Jack Dorsey. His most significant influences include Hampton Hawes, Les McCann, Ahmad Jamal, Thelonious Monk, Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Miles Davis, Junior Mance, and Carmen McRae just to name a few.
Martyâ€™s most recent CD, â€œLong Time Cominâ€™â€ showcases his incredible talent.Â He invites us to listen closely to his voice on the piano and in his interpretation of some of his most favorite tunes.Â He tells us thereâ€™s a story there that just might give us some insight into the life of a very talented musician who has spent his life in pursuit of his own voice and style of his dream.
MARTY WILLIAMS QUARTET
Marty Williams, piano
Eric Swinderman, guitar
Ruth Davies, bass
Jack Dorsey, drums
Photos on the Steinway grand in Ruth’s living room reflect her musical career. Several pictures get one’s attention. Her mother, a music teacher, inspired Ruth to earn a music Bachelor of Arts degree. Mom poses with Dad in front of a venerable Harley Davidson motorbike. There’s a group of youngÂ musicians glowing during a workshop.Â Ruth embracing Toots Thielemans in a Baku caravansary. Ruth playing at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Ruth hamming it up with singer Jackie Ryan and composer Amina Figarova. Some photos include celebrities or famous musicians. Others simply grab one’s interest. What a life Ruth has had!
Ruth Davies has been an integral faculty member and Festival artist at the Stanford Jazz Workshop for over 15 years. With a huge bass sound and a warm heart, Ruth is a favorite among SJW students. When sheâ€™s not recording or touring, Ruth devotes much of her time to teaching, not only at SJW, but also with the San Francisco Symphonyâ€™s Adventures In Music program, SFJAZZâ€™s Jazz In Session program, and Pamela Roseâ€™s projects bringing historical women blues and jazz composers and artists to audiences around the country.
The list of artists Ruth has toured and recorded with reads like a Whoâ€™s Who of blues and jazz, including Charles Brown, Elvin Bishop, Clark Terry, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, Jay McShann, Van Morrison, Maria Muldaur, Junior Mance, Linda Tillery, Barbara Dane, Barbara Morrison, Etta Jones, Elvis Costello, Eric Bibb, Kebâ€™ Moâ€™, Terry Gibbs, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Little Jimmy Scott.
Ruthâ€™s discography includes several Platinum and Grammy-winning recordings, and covers jazz, blues, and movie soundtracks. She has recorded with Charles Brown, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison, Sammy Hagar, Clark Terry, Vassar Clements, Toots Thielemans, Ernie Watts, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Clairdee, Tammy Hall, Jackie Ryan, Pamela Rose, and Ramblinâ€™ Jack Elliott, among others.
All jazz masters have one thing in common: a life-long devotion to the pursuit of the Sound, a pitch-perfect expression of the highest artistic truth. Eric Swinderman is that kind of musician.
The late Phil Elwood, an esteemed music critic, compared Eric Swinderman to players as Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Eddie Duran, Howard Alden, Jimmy Bruno, Bruce Foreman, and Laurindo Almeida, noting, he â€œis a guitarist worthy of inclusion in this august group.â€
Primarily known for his deep appreciation of music and music history, Eric Swinderman is held in high esteem among the jazz aficionados and inspires high regard from his peers in the music industry.
Eric Swinderman is committed to creating lasting memories through composition, improvisation and education.Â A master guitar player, he moves easily between Jazz, Blues, and Spiritual music. His arrangements engage audiences and transport them to a world of unbridled joy, poignant pleasure, and unforgettable moments of creative magic.
Jack Dorsey, drummer, is a native New Yorker who arrived on the San Francisco music scene in 1968.
He has performed and recorded internationally with such diverse artists as; Little Anthony, Macy Blackman, The Coasters, The Crests, Jose Feliciano, Bobby Freeman, Etta Jones, Ed Kelly, Buddy Miles, The Oakland Jazz Choir, Denise Perrier, Khalil Shaheed, Lavay Smith, and Jimmy Witherspoon.
Jack has recorded numerous television theme scores, commercials and motion picture soundtracks for 20th Century Fox, Zoetrope, and Skywalker Ranch. He has performed drums & percussion for SF theatre productions including Gary Trudeauâ€™s Rap Master Ronnie.
He’s taught the basics of drums and rhythm throughout the SF School Dist. with the SF Symphonyâ€™s Adventures in Music Program, in East Bay schools with Michael Morgan, Conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and continues to teach and perform with the Oaktown Jazz Workshop.
Jack has been the Mighty Fines’ drummer since the band’s inception in 2003.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site