On his gripping new solo album, progressive jazz drummer Jamire Williams flouts expectations | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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On his gripping new solo album, progressive jazz drummer Jamire Williams flouts expectations


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Drummer Jamire Williams spent time in New York in the aughts, working with high-level bandleaders like Robert Glasper and Herbie Hancock and pursuing an R&B-informed vision of jazz. These days he lives in Los Angeles, making music that routinely flouts expectations of what a jazz drummer should be. He was a key part of Jeff Parker’s fantastic groove-oriented 2016 album The New Breed (International Anthem), deftly interweaving acoustic and electronic beats with appealingly off-kilter propulsion, but you can really hear what he’s about on his recent solo effort ///// Effectual (Leaving), where the crisp snap of his playing hits hard. On some tracks concise grooves are buffeted by spasming accents and sly displacements; “Dos au Soleil” homes in on a rolling groove with a blown-out kick drum and a brightly pinging cymbal, while “In Retrospect” complements Williams’s ferocious playing with sharply deployed electronics—in this case a droning synth interrupted by dive-bombing tones. In some ways the album feels like a clinic, but Williams delivers enough variety and sense of scale to keep it from getting there. The record closes with “Collaborate With God,” a tender gem made with Frank Ocean cohort Chassol.   v

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