Sunday, May 27, 2018

Concert Review: The Charles Williams Trio at First Baptist Church

Charles Williams declared that “I’m a real fun person” at the outset of his concert in the Jazz Vespers series at First Baptist Church on Sunday, May 27.  He validated the assertion with two convivial sets of melodic jazz.

Backed by bassist DeAndre Manning and drummer Mike Warren, the keyboardist focused on material from his new album Flavors of Jazz.  The lovely original composition “MacheĆ©” and a bossa nova arrangement of “Chelsea Bridge” were particularly satisfying.

About 100 people heard Williams namecheck the Crusaders, Ahmad Jamal and  Grover Washington Jr. as inspirations.  The influence of those artists is apparent in the soulful urbanity of Williams’ sound.  His bandmates were ideal accompanists. Warren played like a sentient metronome.  A couple of Manning’s funky solos were so deliciously greasy that they shouldn’t have been allowed in church.  Williams’ unaccompanied reading of “Amazing Grace” acted as penance for Manning’s unsanctified outbursts.

In her ten-minute sermon at the intermission, Rev. Dezo Desauguste asserted that following God’s path “feels so right... feels so natural... feels so effortless.”  The same can be said of the rewarding music of Williams, Manning and Warren.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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