Time is drummer Kip Williams’s new album, and it not only showcases his superior groove in three different bands, but also represents a long time coming for the Powhatan-based musician.
(Enuphase Records, 2010)
“Time” means a lot of things. There’s the definition we all know: the passing seconds, minutes, and hours that we work to make the most of every day. Musically, it’s that and more, like a player’s feel or phrasing. Especially for a drummer, it refers specifically to groove. The album Time means all of that.
It’s drummer Kip Williams’s new album, and it not only showcases his superior groove in three different bands, but also represents a long time coming for the Powhatan-based musician, former music store owner, and specialist of everything drums. The cover art even implies the relationship between a camera’s shutter speed and the album’s title. Suffice to say that the theme is prevalent throughout.
The personnel changes from track to track utilizing three different arrangements of musicians. The heart beat of Williams’s drumming is always there, despite the rapid organ transplants. His playing matches his personality: a bright spirit who marries the limitless enthusiasm of a child with the maturity of a pro.
Listen to “Nothing Personal”:[audio:
http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/14%20Nothing%20Personal.mp3|titles=Nothing Personal|artists=Kip Williams]
Wayne Shorter’s “This Is For Albert” kicks the album off with the rhythmic and exciting pianist Steve Kessler, who has played with Williams since 1988 and has known him since ten years before that. Adding bassist Matt Hall and alto saxophonist James “Saxsmo” Gates — a more recent addition to Williams’s roster whose tone has hints of Jan Garbarek — gives the group a Keith Jarrett Quartet-like feel. Williams’s powerful and splashy drumming, however, is less Motian or Christensen and more DeJohnette.
Of the three bassists who lay the foundation for the music in collaboration with Williams, Hall is Kip’s rock, solidifying on the back end the enthusiastic one (“Eternal Triangle”), whereas Carl Lester and his modulated tone flies along with him (“Footprints”).
Lester, with Williams and pianist Chad Gustafson, formed the trio Imperial Norton in 2006, and brings their fusion-leaning approach to “Recorda Me” and Sting’s “Fragile.”
Finally, Keith Horne (Trisha Yearwood; Peter Frampton; Secrets with Steve Wilson, Carter Beauford, et al) rounds out the bass roster, playing with Williams, Kessler, and a welcomed addition, tenor saxophonist Skip Gailes, who offers dynamic variety and motific development (“Nothing Personal”).
Listen to “Tribal”:[audio:
Kevin Davis (who also appears overdubbed on a few full band tunes) contributes to six percussion pieces that range from 11 to 30 seconds long and come in between several of the tracks and closing the album. Williams writes in the album’s liner, “The percussion loops between the tunes are used to cleanse the listeners ears before moving on to the next piece. To help separate rhythm from melody and to let the tune breathe before heading into the next journey [sic].”
It really works as intended. The pitchless instruments, whether they be congas, udo, shekere, guiro, or something else, provides refreshing interludes. Billy Martin (or maybe his beatmaking counterpart Illy B) would get a kick out of the final one, “Tribal.” Same goes for Cyro Baptista and “Barry Bum,” Han Bennink and “Devilstick.” Each piece is just a taste, a tease even, of another part of Williams’s musicianship that we don’t get to hear expanded upon.
Time makes you think. With Williams’s propulsive groove and dynamic outbursts front and center, so is time.
Track list: This Is For Albert; 500 Miles High; Drums No Stop; Footprints; Barry Bum; Fragile; On Green Dolphin Street; Devilstick; Maiden Voyage; Can Tank R Us; Eternal Triangle; Udo Dat U Do; Recorda Me; Nothing Personal; Tribal.
Personnel: Kip Williams, drums, percussion; James “Saxsmo” Gates, alto saxophone (1,7,9,11); Skip Gailes, tenor saxophone (2,14); Steve Kessler, piano (1,2,7,9,11,14); Chad Gustafson, piano (4,6,13); Matt Hall, bass (1,7,9,11); Keith Horne, bass (2,14); Carl Lester, bass (4,6,13); Kevin Davis, percussion (3,5,9,10,12,14,15).