Kate Williams

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Biography of Kate Williams

Kate Williams' Four Plus Three is a new collaboration between acclaimed jazz pianist/composer Kate Williams and the Guastalla string quartet.
Kate first met violinists John Garner and Marie Schreer, the co-leaders of the quartet, whilst working on Bill Evans And The Impressionists at the 2014 Guildhall Jazz Festival. The programme featured works by piano legend Bill Evans which Williams arranged for her jazz trio and full orchestra. 
The repertoire for this new project includes material by Bill Evans, Cole Porter and A.C. Jobim as well as originals by Williams. The style of writing and arranging  exploits the varied sound pallet of both string quartet and jazz trio, creating contrasts between the improvised and the notated, and between sustained textures and strong grooves.  As with her previous arranging ventures, Kate is seeking a fully integrated approach (this is definitely not a jazz trio with string accompaniment!), as this line-up provides a wealth of interesting instrumental sonorities. 

Kate's septet CD Atlas And Vulcana is a further reflection of her colourful originality as a pianist/composer/arranger. With pieces for trio, quartet and septet, this is an album of contrasts which features some of the finest musicians on the UK jazz scene.

"British pianist/composer Kate Williams makes the kind of jazz albums few younger players attempt these days, let alone pull off with such aplomb – full of graceful storytelling themes and uptempo swing, delicate piano breaks glowing with a Bill Evans hue, bebop horn solos over nimble walking grooves. This is an elegant set of originals for her classy septet, including the flute virtuoso Gareth Lockrane and powerful tenor saxist Alex Garnett. The memorable title track appears in both trio and septet versions, the former opening on an almost Maiden Voyage-like chordal undertow, before pursuing Williams’s patiently wayward melody. Her cool, shapely and sometimes nimbly mischievous writing constantly informs this set – with uptempo tracks such as Duped shifting from a clipped, brightly ascending horn theme to a series of slick solos over walking grooves, tone-poems such as the beautiful Moonset, featuring Gil Evans-like sound mists, and the haunting Ballad for Mr H making full use of Lockrane’s lustrous bass-flute sound. The one cover, Harold Arlen’s My Shining Hour, is given something of the self-conscious perkiness of a 1960s TV science-show theme, but for the most part, Williams’s lyricism, polish and subtle touch make this one of her most accomplished and personal ventures."

John Fordham, The Guardian, 7th November 2014

She has released several previous CDs, each one to critical acclaim, most recently 'Made Up' (with her septet) and 'Smoke And Mirrors' (with tenor legend Bobby Wellins). Both were in Mojo magazine's top ten jazz albums in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

She was featured at the Pizza Express Steinway 2-Piano Festival in 2010, 2011 and 2013 (with Robin Aspland and Nikki Iles respectively), with two of the concerts being broadcast on Radio 3’s Jazz Line Up.

In March 2014, she and conductor William Goodchild co-founded Interplay Series: Bill Evans And The Impressionists, a project featuring new arrangements of Bill Evans tunes alongside works by Ravel and Debussy for trio and orchestra. The first two performances were at the Bristol International Jazz Festival and the Guildhall Jazz Festival. www.interplayseries.com

She is a member of Chris Biscoe’s Mingus Moves, has recorded with vocalists Georgia Mancio (for whom she has also composed and arranged) and Juliet Kelly, as well as performing with many other leading UK artists including Anita Wardell, Tina May, Henry Lowther, Jim Mullen, John Etheridge, Julian Siegel, Tim Whitehead and Karen Sharp.

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