Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gregory Hickman-Williams Remembered

Additional chapters were added to the legacy of Gregory Hickman-Williams last weekend. The remarkable vocalist died in 2006, just as his career as a performer was gaining momentum.

It's distressing that my review of Passages still appears to be the only one published, but renewed attention is finally bringing deserved recognition to the stunning recording. KCUR recently aired an excellent feature about Hickman-Williams.

A significant portion of Kansas City's jazz community packed Jardine's on Sunday for a five-hour tribute to Hickman-Williams. Most performed selections from a list of material Hickman-Williams intended to record on future projects. Yet some of the evening's most moving moments came during pianist Pamela Baskin-Watson's accompaniment to a recording of Hickman-Williams' voice. She also played a particularly poignant version of the late Russ Long's "Save That Time."

Other notable performances during the first half of the celebration included David Basse's (above, with Hickman-Williams' partner Jon Bauer) wonderfully stylized version of "Angel Eyes." Loren Pickford presented "Requiem For Gregory," a beautiful original composition.

Aron Carlson, one of Hickman-Williams' students, performed an oddly affecting a capella version of "Oh My Darling, Clementine." It silenced the room, a feat Hickman-Williams accomplished in the same venue. Other notable contributors were the Sons of Brazil, bassist Bob Bowman, the Wild Women of Kansas City and Millie Edwards, who served as master of ceremonies.

Bauer unveiled a mural by Kerry J. Stucky depicting Hickman-Williams' life and legacy at his home on Saturday. This panel is just a portion of the enormous work. The remarkable statement captures the spirit of an unforgettable talent.

(The first three images were captured by Plastic Sax.)

No comments: