Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Williams, Jimmy (James Kendree Williams III)
Williams, Jimmy [James Kendree Williams III], guitarist, educator, author; b. Monterey, CA, 14 December 1962. When Jimmy was four he moved with his mother (born Ann Rogers, 1939, Mullins, SC) and brother (Samuel, b. 1966) to Mullins, SC while his father (James Kendree, Jr., b. 1937, Mullins, SC) was deployed overseas in the USN. When his father returned the family moved to a new state every few years but remained on the East Coast. When he was thirteen Jimmy began studying the guitar with Mike Caine in Turnersville, NJ. After relocating to Springfield, VA he continued lessons with Eric Tanner, who first introduced him to improvisation. The family then moved to Virginia Beach, VA and Jimmy began to perform gigs regularly with local groups and was working as a full-time musician when he graduated high school. His main influences at this time were Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane and blues artists Howling Wolf, Freddie King and Magic Sam. He began touring and recording with the Bluzblasters and backing up Texas rhythm and blues vocalist Frankie Lee. During this time he became interested in a more jazz-oriented approach to the blues through the music of Pat Martino, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Larry Young and began studying with guitarist Rick Whitehead. After hearing the Eric Dolphy album Out There and a solo recording by guitarist Derek Bailey, he left performing and entered a period of intense practice and isolation. He then received several jazz scholarships and earned a BA in Music from Norfolk State University where he studied Composition with Adolphus Hailstork and Contemporary Music with F. Gerard Errante. This period culminated in his meeting and friendship with multi-instrumentalist Joel Futterman. He began studying and soon performing and recording with Futterman who was and is a great influence on him. His interest in the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen and Edgard Varese influenced him to explore the timbral possibilities of the prepared guitar and his appreciation of Carnatic music and the music of Giacinto Scelsi inspired him to investigate the fretless guitar both of which he utilizes in performance. After recording with Joe Fonda he became interested and inspired by the work and philosophy of Anthony Braxton. This renewed his interest in composition and experimentation with form and structure.
While a member of the adjunct faculty Williams founded the Creative Music Ensemble at Christopher Newport University in 1998 where he also taught private jazz guitar and improvisation lessons and jazz combo classes. After his departure in 2000 the school unfortunately dropped the Creative Music Ensemble although interest remained large. He has authored several books on guitar improvisation and has also written liner notes for several jazz and blues recordings. He is active as a performer and composer in a variety of contexts from solo concerts to large group multimedia collaborations involving music, video and dance. He is the founder of Kali Records; a label devoted to Improvised Music. He has performed and recorded with Joel Futterman, William Parker, Herb Robertson, Joe Fonda, Paul Murphy, Michael Jefry Stevens, Vattel Cherry and others and is a founding member of the Klimt Experience, a performing arts collective focusing on improvisation and interaction of the arts. He has performed at festivals and jazz clubs in the USA, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece and Spain and appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts
Authenticity (co-leader with Joel Futterman and William Parker) (1999);
Relativity (co-leader with Joel Futterman) (1999); Paul Murphy-Joel
Futterman Quartet (2000); As of Now (co-leader with Joel Futterman)
(2000); When the Lost Becomes Found (2001); Dyami (co-leader with
Joel Futterman) (2002); Monkeys in the Trees (co-leader with Ron
Frankie Lee: Sooner or Later (1992); The Bluzblasters: Get Blasted (1987).
The soundtrack for the film: War, by Blaze Pappas, with the Klimt Experience (2002); soundtrack for the film: The Prostitute, by Blaze Pappas, with Darius Jones (to be released January 2003).
Instructional video: Abstract Guitar (2003).
Unissued recordings and videos:
Unissued ten CD set, the Bradford Concerts with Joel Futterman (1999-2000); unissued trio recording with Darius Jones and Scott Clark (2002); several hours of unissued duo material with Ron Carozzoni (2001-2002); Unissued 90 minutes of video footage of a performance with Joel Futterman and Vattel Cherry (2000).
Pentatonic Scales for Jazz Guitar Improvisation (Shanti Publications, 1996).
Messiaen's Modes of Limited Transposition Applied to Guitar Improvisation (Screaming at the Sky, 2001).
Tone Clusters for the Improvising Guitarist (Screaming at the Sky, 2002).
Liner notes to Revelation: Kidd Jordan and Joel Futterman (1995).