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Jeff Williams


Born July 6, 1950 in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Jeff Williams grew up in the small college town of Oberlin and began playing in area jazz clubs at age 14. Moving to Boston in 1968, Jeff attended the Berklee College of Music where he studied with Alan Dawson. In 1971 Jeff began his professional career in New York, a year later joining the Stan Getz Quartet ('72 -'74) in an edition that included Dave Holland and Richie Beirach or Albert Daily. (Jeff toured again with Getz for much of 1988, with Kenny Barron and Anthony Cox). Along with Beirach, Dave Liebman, and Frank Tusa, Jeff formed the group Lookout Farm, touring internationally from 1973-76. The band's recordings include Lookout Farm and Drum Ode (ECM) and Sweet Hands (A&M/Horizon).

In succeeding years Jeff has accompanied a wide variety of musicians. A partial list includes: John Abercrombie, Paul Bley, Randy Brecker, George Coleman, Marc Copland, Art Farmer, Joe Farrell, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Jordan, Cecil McBee, George Mraz, Gary Peacock, Michel Petrucciani, John Scofield, Miroslav Vitous, and Cedar Walton.
In 1992, under Joe Lovano's leadership, Jeff toured Europe with a quartet that also featured Tom Harrell and Anthony Cox. Jeff continued with Lovano in his Universal Language sextet in 1993 and '94 for wide-ranging tours of Europe and the U.S., highlighted by performances at the North Sea, Montreux, Boston Globe, and Knitting Factory festivals, as well as the Village Vanguard.

Jeff's association with Lee Konitz began with a week's engagement at the Half Note in 1972. He has recorded five CDs with Konitz, including the new Dig It (SteepleChase), and accompanied Lee on tours of Japan and Brazil. In the last two years they have appeared at Sweet Basil, Birdland, the Knitting Factory, and the Regattabar in Cambridge, Mass. This year's activities include a tour of South America and a number of European and U.S. dates in a trio setting with Ron McClure on bass.

Jeff has recorded two CDs as a leader, Coalescence (SteepleChase) and the recently released Jazzblues (Cathexis), both comprised entirely of Williams' compositions. The music is performed by Jeff's 1991-96 working quintet of Tim Ries, Patrick Zimmerli - saxophones, Kevin Hays - piano, and Doug Weiss - bass. Jeff's compositions also appear on recordings by Larry Willis, Frank Kimbrough, Lee Konitz, and Don Friedman.

Jeff continues to play with the more creative young musicians emerging on the New York scene, including trumpeter Dave Ballou, saxophonists Tony Malaby and Bill McHenry, pianists Roberta Piket and Ethan Iverson, and bassist Reid Anderson. Jeff appears on Ballou's recordings Amongst Ourselves and Volition (SteepleChase), as well as Piket's Unbroken Line (Criss Cross), Live At The Blue Note (Half Note) and the upcoming Speak, Memory (Fresh Sound/New Talent). Also coming on Fresh Sound is Jeff's contribution to the Iverson/McHenry quartet, recorded live at Smalls. Additionally, Jeff has been leading two bands in performances around New York: Circadian Rhythms, with Malaby and bassist Michael Formanek, and Left-Handed Compliment with Peter Madsen on organ and John O'Gallagher on alto saxophone.

Throughout the years Jeff has conducted master classes, workshops, and clinics at many academic institutions, including Berklee College, the New School, the University of Connecticut, and Long Island University. He is also on the faculty of the Maine Jazz Camp and has a full roster of private students.

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