Desert Island Jazz
Jessica Williams (2002)

Visit Website

Jessica Williams is a well-known and highly respected pianist and composer who has deep roots in the Jazz Tradition.

DAVE BRUBECK calls her "One of the greatest jazz pianists I have ever heard..."

McCOY TYNER says "Jessica is a beautiful player..."

and ROLLING STONE Magazine calls her "A vibrant force on the contemporary music scene."

This two-time Grammy Nominee was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and classically trained at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

She moved to Philadelphia during her teens and worked with the great Philly Joe Jones, drummer for the Miles Davis Quintet.

In her mid-twenties, she moved to the West Coast, where she played in the bands of Eddie Harris, Dexter Gordon, Tony Williams, Stan Getz, Big Nick Nicholaus, Airto and Flora, Charlie Rouse, John Abercrombie, Leroy Vinnegar, and others.

She has released over 45 albums in a career spanning as many years.

She has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; a Rockefeller Grant for composing; the Alice B. Toklas Grant for Women Composers, and the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

In Europe, she scored Jazz Record of the Year for 2 consecutive years in the Jazz Journal International Reader's Poll.

She has been presented the Keys to the City of Sacramento, receiving four grants from the Sacramento Arts Commission. She was also presented the Keys to the City of San Mateo.

In 2002 she was chosen Artist of the Year in Santa Cruz County, largely for her free musical service to elderly members of the community, and for donating support to the Women's Shelter of Watsonville, California.

Her album Joyful Sorrow was among the Top 5 CDs of JazzTimes' Critics Poll in 1999, and her album In the Key of Monk won that honor again in 2000.

During the last four decades, Jessica has produced more than 300 original compositions; she has recorded for Jazz Focus, Candid, Concord, Landmark-Fantasy, Timeless, Maxjazz, and her own company, Red and Blue Music.

She owns her own publishing company, JJW Music, and runs her own successful Internet business,

She has been a guest on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. She has written scores for PBS and HBO specials and has received more than twenty ASCAP Special Awards for her prolific compositional output.

She appeared at the 2004 and 2006 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festivals at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and she has played everywhere from Carnegie Hall in New York City, to the Opera House in Tokyo, Japan.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Miss Jessica Williams.

Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Miles Davis Filles de Kilimanjaro Les Petits Machins (Columbia)
# 2 John Coltrane A Love Supreme Pursuance / Psalm (Impulse)
# 3 Pyotr Tchaikowsky N/A Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36 N/A
# 4 Erroll Garner Body and Soul The Way You Look Tonight (Columbia)
# 5 Alice Coltrane Journey in Satchidananda Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse)
# 6 Paul Simon Graceland The Boy in the Bubble (Warner Bros)
# 7 Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald Ella and Louis Again Love Is Here to Stay (Verve)
# 8 Jessica Williams Joy Joy (Jazz Focus)
Book Sogyal Rinpoche, "The Tibetan book of Living and Dying"
Luxury Item Organic produce, farming implements, and something to make fire
Alternate Picks/Not Broadcast
Alt 1 Jessica Williams Millennial Meditations N/A (Red and Blue, www.
Alt 2 Miles Davis Kind of Blue N/A (Columbia)
Castaways by date
Melissa Aldana
11 Mar
Ron E. Beck
29 Apr
Pascal Bokar
07 Oct
Shanna Carlson
18 Mar
Sara Caswell
25 Mar
Carlos D'l Puerto
22 Jul
Kellye Gray
15 Jul
David Hart
04 Nov
Ellen Johnson
17 Jun
Steffen Kuehn
02 Dec
Paul McCandless
08 Jul
Allison Miller
15 Apr
Melissa Morgan
29 Jul
Linda Oh
05 Aug
Dafnis Prieto
24 Jun
Jim Pugh
30 Sep
Fred Randolph
05 Feb
Harvie S
03 Jun
Jake Shapiro
10 Jun
Marcus Shelby
15 Jan
Bria Skonberg
04 Mar
Mark Soskin
20 May
Leslie Stoval
19 Aug
John Stowell
08 Apr
Toots Thielemans
02 Sep
Roseanna Vitro
26 Feb
Paul VornHagen
14 Oct
Don Was
12 Aug
Danielle Wertz
27 May
Howard Wiley
28 Oct