Gareth Williams Power Trio ‘Shick’ (Linn) 3/5

Formerly keyboardist and founding member of UK trip hop band US3 that re-worked Herbie Hancock’s classic piece on ‘Cantaloop’, Gareth Williams now debuts in his own right with an excellent overview of his acoustic, and to a lesser extent, electric piano skills. Williams has clearly taken in multiple musical influences that range from pianist Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau to progressive rock. The sensitive touches displayed on the modern standard ‘Giant steps’ bodes well for the future and he does not overpower the listener with technique. Furthermore his own compositions reveal a souful performer who is particularly adept on ballads. This is demonstrated on the Bill Evanesque ‘Izelda’ and on the specific tribute to the piano legend, ‘Evans the Piano’, where the trio stretches out. Other more contemporary future directions are hinted at on ‘Holey Moley’ with Jaco Pastorius bass licks. Perhaps the fender tracks are non-essential at present and one wishes the bass solos could be reduced in length. However, there is much to appreciate on this first offering and this is certainly a notch above the average piano trio outing.

Tim Stenhouse