Legendary Jazz Drummer

Born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Jeff began his professional jazz drumming career in New York in 1971. By '72 he was playing with Stan Getz, followed by

 Dave Liebman and Lookout Farm through 1976. His other associations include Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Paul Bley, Bill McHenry, Ethan Iverson,

Tony Malaby, Leo Genovese and a host of others. Since making a second home in London some years ago Jeff has performed with Kenny Wheeler,

Norma Winstone, Martin Speake, Nikki Illes, Olie Brice and more, in addition to leading his own bands, whose members have included Phil Robson,

Kit Downes, Finn Peters, Josh Arcoleo, Sam Lasserson, John O'Gallagher, Duane Eubanks and John Hébert. Jeff has recorded six albums for the Whirlwind Recordings label showcasing his original compositions.  2019's Bloomfeatures Carmen Staaf - piano and Michael Formanek - bass,

while 2020's Road Tales -Live at London Jazz Festival  has longtime associates John O'Gallagher, Josh Arcoleo and Sam Lasserson. 

A recent relocation from London to Lisbon begins a new chapter.  2024 also sees the release of Jeff's seventh for Whirlwind, In Duo, with Dave Liebman.

 A recent relocation from London to Lisbon begins a new chapter.

Upcoming performances: TBC

Latest release:

David Liebman & Jeff Williams In Duo at Bar Room 432, 1991

on Whirlwind Recordings

  Listen and  Order here:

Whirlwind announcement  (26 January 2024)

All About Jazz review  1 March 2024.   ****
By Neil Duggan

"There is a wonderful hidden treasure trove of jazz recordings which keep

being unearthed from old radio broadcasts, forgotten corners of attics or, 

in this case, boxes of old cassette tapes. Drummer Jeff Williams was delving

through some old cassettes made during his extensive career. He found a

recording from an improvisational session he made in 1991 with saxophonist

Dave Liebman. The recording was made at a session at Bar Room 432, on the

West Side of 14th Street in Manhattan.

The two musicians had previously worked together in Liebman's

improvisational band, Lookout Farm. Following the break-up of that band

in 1976, the two briefly played as a duo, opening for Gary Burton, and can be

heard on Liebman's The Last Call (Ego Records, 1979).

Williams has considerable international experience, including extensive work

with Lee Konitz. As well as Lookout Farm, he has played with Stan Getz and

formed his own bands, notably Coalescence and the trio Circadian Rhythms

with Tony Malaby and Michael Formanek. Liebman has had a sparkling

career, recording with Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea and many other

key names. Other activities have included writing hundreds of original

compositions, producing instructional materials and garnering multiple

awards along the way, including an NEA Jazz Master.

He is one of the most significant and prolific saxophonists of the last fifty


This recording, In Duo, had no rehearsal, no set list; they just carried on from

the last time they had played together, spontaneously improvising and

exploring in front of an amenable and open-minded audience. In the best

tradition of cassette recording, the two tracks are called "Side A" and

"Side B." Each lasts around 20 minutes. The recording has been remastered

by sound engineer, Alex Bonney. Despite the provenance, there is no

"bootleg" feel about the recording, just a warm mood, a live atmosphere

and a change from studio polish.

The first set starts with fast soprano saxophone phrases as Williams drives in

to a groove. They become more impassioned, the speed increases, the

saxophone wails and slurs with darting runs, eventually leading to an

explosive barrage of drums before the track moves into a slower ballad-like

section with the saxophone more plaintive and melodic.

Side B is less frenetic. Liebman's saxophone plays blues-tinged phrases,

Williams subtly develops a soulful groove before forcefully driving the pace

forward. Liebman's playing becomes incendiary and intense, pushing his sax

to extremes, before they subside in the last few minutes.

This is raw, unfiltered music, created in the moment, involving a degree of

chance. Liebman's mastery of the soprano saxophone is indisputable, moving

from light melody to daring intensity. Williams is the perfect foil, knowing how

to respond and when to match that intensity.

An intoxicating experience for admirers of free-jazz. Let us hope many

more of these forgotten recordings keep coming to light."

(Condensed) review from: Marlbank.net:

"Letthis wash all over you - a live freedom-loving stream of consciousness duo

record from sax legend Dave Liebman and drummer Jeff Williams made in a

New York bar in the early 1990s and not available until now. Lieb plays like a

demon ably accompanied by a lit-up Williams, never the most outrageously

loud or extrovert of players, but whose style here goes that bit further and

lands in the ''multi-directional'' style favoured by the likes of Rashied Ali

down the years. If you ever grow tired of glossy massively produced recording

sessions then this is the antidote and a welcome reset that draws us to the

fundamentals of just what we love about modernistic free-jazz in the first place.

Find the time to listen to everything in one sitting for the most maximum,

exhilarating, effect."  (Complete Review from: Marlbank.net)

Jazz Views

David Liebman/Jeff Williams – In Duo

by George Cole Feb 1, 2024 Album Reviews, International

"For this listener, it was an exhilarating ride."

Whirlwind Recordings WR4817
David Liebman (soprano sax); Jeff Williams (drums)
Recorded Bar Room 432, Manhattan, New York 1991
"Forget about drum and bass – this recording is all about drum and sax. Take two men,

one soprano saxophone and one drum kit, and what you get is a mesmerising performance,

completely improvised, with no planning, no preparation and no pre-prepared music.

It could be a recipe for disaster, but in the hands of Dave Liebman and Jeff Williams, i

t’s an exhilarating musical journey literally into the unknown. Call it free-jazz; call it

avant-garde, call it formless, but whatever name you use, you are hearing music being

created in the moment. It’s the musical equivalent of walking a tightrope blindfolded.

For many people, the definition of jazz is improvisation, but in most cases,

even an improvised jazz performance has some form of structure, designed

to guide the ensemble, but on this record, everything is created on-the-fly, i

n two sets totalling more than forty minutes. It goes without saying, that this

type of playing requires musicians who are fully cognizant with each other’s

playing, and who are in total harmony (both figuratively and literally).

Liebman and Williams go back a long way. Dave Liebman (although the album

cover uses the more formal form David) is well known for his association with

Elvin Jones and Miles Davis (he played in Miles’s band in 1973-4). Jeff Williams

has played with Paul Bley, Stan Getz and Joe Lovano.
When Liebman left Miles’s band in 1974, he formed the band Lookout Farm,

with Jeff Williams, pianist Riche Beirach and bassist Frank Tusa. Percussionist

Badal Roy (another Miles alumnus) later joined the line-up. The album,

Lookout Farm, was released by ECM and billed as a Dave Liebman recording.

It included guest musicians like Badal Roy (who played tabla), Don Alias and

John Abercrombie. The music was a mix of acoustic and electric; east and west.
In 1976. Lookout Farm won the ‘Group Deserving of Wider Recognition’ category in

Down Beat’s International Critics’ Poll. Ironically, the band broke up in the same year.

Soon after, Liebman and Williams performed as a duo, supporting Gary Burton on tour.

A recording of their duo performance is on Liebman’s 1979 album The Last Call.

After the tour, Liebman and Williams went their own way, at least musically.
Fast forward to 1990, and Williams discovered a Manhattan bar, Bar Room 432.

He persuaded the owners to start a jazz club, which ran for six nights a week.

One of the gigs was a duo performance with Williams and Joe Lovano.

Liebman heard about the gig and suggested he and Williams also perform together at

the venue. This recording is that gig. Williams recorded the performance using what he

describes as a, ‘Pretty good cassette recorder.’ After playing the tape once, Williams put it

away and then forgot about it. It was only by discovering the cassette by chance many

years later and sending a copy to Liebman (who raved about the performance), that

Williams got the idea of releasing it to the public. The recording has been digitized,

sonically tweaked and remastered by sound engineer Alex Bonney.

I’d love to know more about how the gig was recorded, and what work Bonney did to

make the performance sound so good – this is a million miles away

from any bootleg recording. The drums for example, are powerful but not over-powering,

and the cymbals sound crisp and clear. You would never guess that these two musicians

hadn’t played together for fifteen years. The first set (simply called Set 1) begins as an

uptempo number and it sounds as if the two musicians have been unleashed

onto the stage. Both men play frenetically, and Liebman’s soprano squeals, shrieks,

squawks and wails, but without ever sounding ugly. Williams keeps driving the music

forward, and at the eight-minute mark, he plays volcanic drum solo, packed with

explosive fills and cymbal smashes. The music then becomes less frenetic, as Liebman

plays circular melodic riffs over Williams’ gentle tumbling drum pattern, and the music

morphs into a ballad, before the first set ends.
Set 2 starts off slower-paced and more melodic than the first set, with Williams’ playing a

series of light-touch strokes on cymbals and toms as Liebman’s soprano winds sweetly

along. Around the seven-minute mark, the sound becomes more agitated as Liebman

switches to playing a series of lightning trills and the drumming becomes more forceful

and explosive. The effect is like a volcano that has been quietly emitting ash and steam

before violently erupting. The playing becomes wild and exciting before slowly winding

down in the final three minutes. To use yet another simile, it’s as if the listener has been

sitting on a roller coaster slowly crawling its way towards the top, before plunging rapidly

back to earth. For this listener, it was an exhilarating ride."

Jazz Views


26 March 2022 interview at Dr Jazz Talks

December 2020 Interview at London Jazz News

November 2020 interview at Jazzbluesnews

November 2020 interview at The Drum Shuffle

December 2020 Special Whirlwind feature

Live performances:

Jeff Williams UK Quintet

Jeff Williams UK Quintet

Jeff with Dan Blake's Da Fe

Jeff with Leo Genovese & Demian Cabaud

Jeff with Marc Copland & Drew Gress
Jeff with Joe Lovano's Universal Language

Jeff with Joe Lovano's Universal Language
Jeff with Art Farmer & Clifford Jordan

Jeff with Dave Liebman & Lookout Farm

Latest release is available as

 a CD and/or a 180 gram 12" LP

Whirlwind Recordings WR4768

Click on photo for ordering

Listen to the single

second single

Reviews from:

The Jazzmann

"There’s a real chemistry between the group members and the performance is delivered with real intensity and dynamism and a genuine spirit of musical adventure."

****-Ian Mann


"Williams' sharp compositions and his tricky and assertive swing feel should be just as appreciated today as his work with Dave Liebman and Stan Getz was in the '70s."


"...animated, melodic percussion language, punchy original themes, and space for gifted soloists... (A) warm and engaging live set."

**** - John Fordham

Jazz Journal

"Great musicians, who are completely in the zone, 

coming together to make great music.

Jeff Williams relies on his many years

of performing to deliver an

outstanding performance".

- Ian Lomax

All About Jazz

All About Jazz review

bebop spoken here

 "One of today's most innovative drummers"

Step Tempest:

 "Music that displays power, wit, musicality, and great "swing".  He writes to the strength of his band and they make sure the music sounds vital." 


Written In Music


                    Drumhead magazine

"With all the compelling immediacy of a live concert recording, ‘Road Tales’ documents how the shared experiences of being a band on the road for a decade or so has shaped a musical narrative, as each member tells the story of those experiences, and shows how they established their own identity within the compositions."  

Selected Discography

  • 24 Hours Ant Trip Ceremony 1967 (CD release by Cicadelic 1999)
  • Friends Marc Cohen, John Abercrombie, Clint Houston, Jeff Williams 1972 (Oblivion)
  • Lookout Farm Dave Liebman 1973 (ECM)
  • Eon Richard Beirach 1974 (ECM)
  • Drum Ode Dave Liebman 1974(ECM)
  • Father Time Frank Tusa 1975 (Enja)
  • Methuselah Richard Beirach 1975 (Trio)
  • Ashirbad Badal Roy 1975 (Trio)
  • Sweet Hands David Liebman 1975 (A&M/Horizon)
  • Passing Dreams Badal Roy 1975 (CD release by Geetika 2002)
  • The Last Call David Liebman 1976 (Ego)
  • David Liebman and Richie Beirach 1976 (CD release by Mosaic 2004)
  • Love Exorcism, Peace Dizzy Reese 1977 (Honey Dew)
  • Free Fall Richard Sussman 1978 (CD release by Double Time 2001)
  • Arnie Lawrence and Treasure Island 1979 (Doctor Jazz)
  • Cosmopolitan Jason Miles 1979 (CD release by Jason Miles Music 2005)
  • Con Brio Jerry Bergonzi 1983 (Plug)
  • The Ray Jerry Bergonzi and Con Brio 1984 (Not Fat)
  • Lonely Woman Frank Kimbrough 1988 (Mapleshade)
  • Paul Bley plays Carla Bley Paul Bley 1991 (SteepleChase)
  • Coalescence Jeff Williams 1991 (SteepleChase)
  • Ugly Beauty Kevin Hays 1991 (SteepleChase)
  • Blue in Green Mike Richmond 1991 (SteepleChase)
  • Quartet Language Armen Donelian 1992 (CD release by Playscape 2003)
  • Lunasea Lee Konitz/Peggy Stern 1992 (Soul Note)
  • Rhapsody 1 and 2 Lee Konitz 1993 (Paddlewheel)
  • Mercy Angel Lindsey Horner 1994 (Upshot)
  • Believers Lindsey Horner 1995 (Koch)
  • Jazzblues Jeff Williams 1995 (CD release by Willful Music 1997, Cathexis 1999)
  • Pink Cloud Ron McClure 1996 (Naxos)
  • Amongst Ourselves Dave Ballou 1997 (SteepleChase)
  • Live at the Blue Note Roberta Piket 1998 (Half Note)
  • Volition Dave Ballou 1998 (SteepleChase)
  • Dig It Lee Konitz/Ted Brown 1999 (SteepleChase)
  • Live At Smalls Ethan Iverson/Bill McHenry 2000 (Fresh Sound/New Talent)
  • United Ari Ambrose 2000 (SteepleChase)
  • City of Dreams Garrison Fewell 2001 (Splasc(h))
  • Axiom John O'Gallagher 2002 (CIMP)
  • Song For Amy Dave Scott 2003 (SteepleChase)
  • Line of Sight John O'Gallagher 2004 (Fresh Sound/New Talent)
  • Phrase Six Russ Lossing 2004 (Fresh Sound/New Talent)
  • Sonic Pressure Bill McHenry 2005 (Fresh Sound/New Talent)
  • Naivete Dave Scott 2006 (SteepleChase)
  • The Music of Chance Barry Green 2006 (Moletone)
  • Generations Martin Speake 2007 (Pumpkin)
  • Dirty Hands John O'Gallagher 2007 (Clean Feed)
  • Nonchalant Dave Scott 2007 (SteepleChase)
  • Everything Forgets Ryan Blotnick 2008 (Songlines)
  • Live At Sweet Rhythm Richard Sussman Quintet 2003, released 2010 (Origin)
  • Cry, Want Hans Koller with Bill Frisell 2009, released 2010 (psi)
  • Live At Riverhouse Martin Speake 2009, released 2011 (Pumpkin)
  • Another Time Jeff Williams 2010, released 2011 (Whirlwind Recordings LTD)
  • Hush Nikki Iles, Rufus Reid 2010, released 2011 (Basho Records)
  • Chasing The Unicorn Hans Koller Francois Théberge, Percy Pursglove 2008, released 2011 (Babel Label)
  • Continuum Richard Sussman Quintet with Randy Breaker, Jerry Bergonzi, Mike Stern, 2012 (Origin)
  • Always A First Time, Martin Speake, Mike Outram, 2013 (Pumpkin)
  • The Listener, Jeff Williams, 2012 (Whirlwind Recordings Ltd) 
  • Mike Gibbs + Twelve Play Gil Evans, 2012 (Whirlwind Recordings Ltd)
  • Concert In The Amazon Jeff Williams 2013 (Willful Archives limited edition 001)
  • First Meeting - Live in London Volume 1, Lee Konitz, Dan Tepfer, Michael Janisch, Jeff Williams, (Whirlwind Recordings Ltd) 2010/2014
  • Immune To Clockwork  Olie Brice Quintet 2014 (Multikulti MP1026)
  • Vuelta  Mike Fletcher Trio 2014 (Stoney Lane Records SLR1931)
  • Valence  John O'Gallagher, Sam Lasserson, Jeff Williams 2014 (Willful Archives limited edition 002)
  • Anatta  Alex Merritt Quartet, 2015, released 2016 (F-IRE Records)
  • Outlier, Jeff Williams, 2015, released 2016 (Whirlwind Recordings Ltd)
  • Retrospection, Hans Koller, released 2016, (Stoney Lane Records--3 LP set)
  • Off The Ground, Demian Cabaud, (self-released 2016)
  • Heart and Soul, Hans Koller, released 2017 (Fresh Sound/New Talent 513)
  • Astah, Demian Cabaud, released 2018 (Porta Jazz)
  • Lifelike  Jeff Williams 2018 (Whirlwind Recordings WR4721)
  • Bloom  Jeff Williams 2019 (Whirlwind Recordings WR4737)
  • Linhas, Gonçalo Marques 2019 (Porta Jazz)
  • Lookout Farm at Onkel Po's Carnegie Hall 1975 (released 2019) Jazzline D77071
  • Woodland, Carmen Staaf (Newvelle Records NV028) 2020
  • Live At London Jazz Festival - Road Tales  Jeff Williams 2020 (Whirlwind Recordings WR4768)
  • Palindromes  Paul Dunmall, Percy Pursglove, Olie Brice, Jeff Williams 2021 (West Hill Records WHR002) 
  • Kimbrough  Newvelle Records 2021
  • Ritual   Leo Genovese  577records  2022
  • In Duo  David Liebman & Jeff Williams 2024 (Whirlwind Recordings WR4817 LP)


BLOOM  with Carmen Staaf & Michael Formanek

Available on CD and 180 gram LP

Bloom reviews:

The 2019 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Jeff Williams, Bloom (Whirlwind)
Free-bop is a cake-and-eat-it-too situation, where the buoyancy of swing gooses the ingenuity of exploration. This year it found a sweet spot in these 11 quizzical roundabouts. Drummer Jeff Williams, bassist Michael Formanek and pianist Carmen Staaf fleck the music with micro tensions while fully genuflecting to melody. Allure dominates the informality they fashion, their attractive improvs managing to be both heady and charming. —Jim Macnie (#1 pick)

Review of Bloom on NPR's Fresh Air:   https://www.npr.org/2019/05/30/728260470/drummer-jeff-williams-matches-good-players-with-the-right-tunes-on-bloom
"Jeff Williams is the kind of drummer whose solo statements are so structurally clear and meticulous you can hear the melody in them. Driving a band, some jazz drummers lay back and swing on the ride cymbal. Jeff Williams gets that same swinging relaxation while darting all over the drum set, pushing and prodding. " 

   - Kevin Whitehead Fresh Air

"...the group crackles with energy, thanks to Williams' flinty playing. Staff's inventive chord changes and Formanek's deep feeling. To hear how assertively the trio tackles a groove, listen to Williams' "Scrunge/Search Me" with its insistent 7/8 pulse. For straight-up improvisation and melodicism, check out Staaf's blues tune, "New York Landing". Then chase all this down with Formanek's "Ballad of the Weak", the most contemplative piece of the lot."


"For a group this early in its development “Bloom” represents a considerable achievement. Recorded over the course of a single day it documents the already remarkable empathy between the three musicians and embraces a wide variety of jazz styles, while simultaneously establishing a strong group identity. The music is bright, colourful, inventive and consistently interesting." - Read the full review: http://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/jeff-williams-bloom/

"The hard groove of “Scattershot,” feisty floating of “Search Me,” and Monkish punctuation of “Short Tune” allow the threesome to milk these devilish switcheroos, revealing that Williams has built a truly crafty cohort to carry out his mission of nurturing spontaneity." 

-Jim Macnie, Jazztimes

"Jeff Williams and his new album Bloom makes me rethink all of those reviews where I discuss the idea of the drummer-as-leader in jazz, and how that individual coaxes performances from the others on stage through momentum as well as the arrangements. Williams, who keeps the project simple by using a spare piano trio, with pianist Carmen Staaf and bassist Michael Formanek, uses this opportunity to show what he’s made of behind the kit. This is Williams’ album all the way, full of stellar drumming techniques that astound, all those lovely and challenging time signatures as well as a somewhat guttural approach to beat. Staaf and Formanek are trusted with just one job–keep up.

Jeff Williams, in other words, is a drummer’s drummer. His skill as a drummer is augmented by not only the hardware–he uses a Zildjian ride cymbal from the 1950s for a unique sound–but by ideas that are completely his own. He’s generous with his two cohorts, and he does rely on their color to pull out even the thorniest of melodies, but Bloom is an internal adventure. It’s a way of climbing inside these 11 tracks, mostly composed by the three, to create a sound that relies heavily on bee-bop from the Golden Age as well as freer explorations that focus on sound and beat. It’s in Williams’ head, and it needs to get out.

Bloom is a jazz album with extraordinary energy. It’s not loud or chaotic, even in the darker stretches. Jeff Williams and his drum kit are tight, lucid and streamlined. This is where the simplicity of a piano trio serves the music–each moment along the way holds up and never slides down the hill through the persuasiveness of sheer spontaneity. In a way, this is a bridge to free or experimental jazz, a way to stand on the ledge and look down. If you want to back away, Staaf’s rich piano will grab your hand and guide you back.

The real joy in Bloom is to sit and listen to Jeff Williams. He’s an old veteran, having played with Stan Getz, Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano. He’s passionate about Thelonious Monk. Williams, Staaf and Formanek are an amazing trio–the title of this album is inspired by the synergy the three possess. Bloom is adventurous, as you might have guessed, but it’s also a chance to listen to a drummer who leads through the propulsive streams of ideas, of not looking back at those who are afraid to come along–even if the horizon is familiar to most."

 Marc Phillips in The Vinyl Anachronist


"His CV attests to both his depth and quality...Williams' fifth disc (for Whirlwind) is perhaps his strongest to date. It's always a treat when the 'real thing' comes along and this particular Jeff Williams trio is undoubtedly that."

-Selwyn Harris**** -Jazzwise



Recommended at https://marlbank.net/marlbank/a-jazz-blog/5005-jeff-williams,-bloom,-whirlwind-recommended.html

Jeff Williams has been makinclassy records like this for years.

If anything he gets better each time.

Be good to yourself and get this asap." -Marlbank

"A drummer led jazz piano trio made up of friends old and new, they know how to kick it out on muscular, improvs that have the kind of angularity that always catches your ear. Pros that know how to use their freedom wisely, this is one of those sets that lets you hear something new each time you play it. Shining as an ensemble, this date knows how to hit all the high notes in fine form." http://www.midwestrecord.com/MWRBlog.html

**** Review from Sea of Tranquility 
"Bloom is a nicely balanced and beautifully played jazz album that will surely impress anyone who cares to listen. Let’s hope this trio stays together for album number two."

*Read: The new album Bloom & listen to a track

*Read: 12 page feature article in the May/June 2019 issue of Drumhead magazine: https://www.drumheadmag.com/drumhead-issue/drumhead-issue-73/

*Listen: An Interview with Jeff from Huw Williams


*Listen: An Interview with Jeff on The Jazz Podcast (March 22, 2019) https://www.buzzsprout.com/81894/1004763

*Watch: A 3-part interview with Jeff for

Under Your Skin conducted at Pizza Express Jazz Club November 25, 2018 during the London Jazz Festival:  1.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klaM79ErWJw
2.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WrM3zrLLxo

3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBBaGHfeLksL

Interview: https://www.thedrumshuffle.com/e/the-drum-shuffle-episode-021-jeff-williams/

Lifelike reviews:

"Jeff Williams has been on a late-career roll - drawing fresh energy and ideas from a pool of younger US and British musicians, and balancing a jazz sensibility honed from the 1960s with a relaxation about letting contemporary improvisers roam. This live recording from London's Vortex catches a superb Williams band in flight on a mix of new and older originals. Jeff Williams' classic-jazz roots go deep, but there's nothing backward-looking about this vividly powerful set.

-John Fordham   ****   Jazzwise magazine

"Jeff Williams explores evolving improvised forms and shifting emotional terrain... The album reprises six of Williams’ original tunes from three previous albums, performed this time with additional personnel and altered arrangements—to intriguing effect."
-DownBeat Magazine September 2018

"This isn’t a band that’s prepared to sit on its laurels, each performance challenges the musicians and pushes at the boundaries of the written material. A highly worthwhile listening experience." -Ian Mann
Review: http://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/jeff-williams-lifelike/

“Sounding as real as real gets, Lifelike’s forward thinking drummer/composer Jeff Williams’ heady sextet sure sound like they’re all sitting in on a late night, cramped back room cutting session, with each player challenging, coaxing the other to new heights and horizons.”
-All about Jazz (review #2) read the review:


"Williams's tautly-constructed, inventive tunes, replete with killer hooks, are pivotal to this excellent album, as are the protagonists who execute it with consummate expertise." **** -All About Jazz (review #1)

Read the review:


Lifelike is a March 2018 Recommended New Release 

-New York City Jazz Record 

"Highly recommended" -Jazz Views 

Read the review: http://www.jazzviews.net/jeff-williams---lifelike.html

"Elements of bop, post-bop, avant-garde meet, and the past and the present merge into a natural overall experience, full of vitality." -Musik an Sich

"Fizzing with brilliant solo performances and bursting with hooks." 
-Musik Reviews

"Williams directs, guides and coaxes like a traffic cop throughout. Traffic that jams well." -Jazzweekly.com


"Left leaning UK jazz straight from the listening room, this bunch plays it pro and plays it for progressive taste.  No pandering to the pots and pans crowd, you can just picture the hipsters nodding their heads approvingly to the beat."

-Chris Spector, Midwest Record

One of the hippest avant-garde jazz records of 2018, a coherent whole of tension-release,vitality, and drive.” -Jazz Trail

Read the review: http://jazztrail.net/blog/2018/4/16/jeff-williams-lifelike-album-review

"The sextet rambles, rumbles, and rocks through seven Williams originals, several from earlier albums.  There is plenty of fire in the performances, from the powerful drive of "The Interloper" to the relentless tension of "Dream Visitor" to the hard-edged "Double Life."  Yet, it's hard not to be seduced by the subtle tempo changes and searching quality of "Under The Radar".

All told, "Lifelike" is full of life, an hour of progressive music not beholding to any genre other than than six musicians fully involved in playing in the moment."

- Step Tempest   Monday, March 12, 2018  http://steptempest.blogspot.com/

"The sound is contemporary, forward-looking but it knows where it’s coming from.  
Jeff Williams is on a roll recording such high-quality material on Michael Janisch’s label. Let’s hope there is another in the pipeline."    -Russell    

       -Bebop Spoken Here  http://www.lance-bebopspokenhere.blogspot.com/2018/03/cd-review-jeff-williams-lifelike.html 

"Williams has done brilliantly to bring his deep-rooted 1960s jazz heritage forwards through working with players of subsequent generations. He thereby combines a strong sense of the continuing tradition with an imperative to look forwards. It is a compelling combination."

-London Jazz News  http://www.londonjazznews.com/2018/06/cd-review-jeff-williams-lifelike.html

**** "Highly recommended" -Sea of Tranquility


UK Bookings: Raestar Promotions / Danielle White

(+44 (0) 7841 675 263, daniraestar@aol.com  www.daniraestar.com

*Watch videos of four of the songs on Lifelike:





"Williams swings at medium tempo with such easy grace that you could think you were listening to Billy Higgins."  
- Richard Williams, thebluemoment.com 

A live review: Jeff Williams Quartet, 14th October 2016

Posted by wakefieldjazz on October 15, 2016

"The absence of a piano in a drummer-led quartet is certain to shape the music, but for able and compatible musicians the format opens up an inexhaustible range of expressive possibilities. The Jeff Williams quartet was certainly up to the challenge. Their two sets were fiery, passionate displays, and a study of the way in which a well-rehearsed and closely-knit group enables rather than constrains inventive soloing. What was notable from the start and sustained throughout was that there was no ‘front line’: although alto, tenor, bass and drums played in various configurations and sequences as well as simultaneously, the sheer power of the performances conveyed a musical ‘united front’—a band of equals, but equal on a level that would be difficult to match anywhere. Their technical finesse never became detached from the music, but it would have been difficult to miss. Jeff Williams’ drumming sustained the music—much of it up-tempo—as well propelling it along, with constantly shifting, complex rhythmic patterns and cleverly executed accents. He and bass player Sam Lasserson seemed to be of one mind. John O’Gallagher (alto) and Josh Arcoleo (tenor) both turned in impassioned performances. For all of the hard-driving character of much of the music and the saxophone improvisations, there were still hushed spaces in which one of the horns plus drums or bass would retreat to an intensely lyrical exchange, slowly bring the music back to the boil. There was even a sideways, supercharged take on a capypso, with some lovely soloing and a few humorous exchanges.There was nothing ‘cool’ about this jazz; nothing that didn’t require advanced technique and keen engagement; and for the audience, little not to marvel over." © J. Whitman


Previous Releases


Sound samples and information about the 2016 album Outlier featuring Phil Robson, Josh Arcoleo,

Kit Downes and Sam Lasserson here: 

Outlier is a Jazz Journal Top 10 CDs of 2016 pick 

"A top notch British band plays superbly throughout with Williams' intelligent but approachable compositions giving them plenty to get their teeth into."
**** -Ian Mann The Jazzmann.com 

"Outlier has a classy, lived-in feel 
that never glosses over this band's tough, restless spirit in performance." 

**** -Jazz Journal 
"Powerful, energetic and unsettling jazz with a lot of warmth and soul at its core."
-Jazz Podium 

"This is a very good album which benefits from Williams' imaginative compositions and the ensemble's excellent musicianship. It's also a grower, so play frequently for a lasting effect." 
About Jazz
"The pieces are robustly appealing and the improv – from a crack British band -- is even better. The set pulses with arresting original themes...Outlier references the tradition, but with dynamism, not deference."
-The Guardian

"Williams has assembled a talented band of musicians. It is to his credit that he has embraced their abilities making for an excellent recording."
-Bebop Spoken Here

"Drummer Jeff Williams has contributed to many fine recordings over four decades, and the first two sessions he led for London’s Whirlwind Recordings were a particular pleasure. Those featured his US band, a freewheeling pianoless quartet he has kept up as a now-UK resident player who maintains a presence in New York. This third release allows us to savour the British band Williams has worked with in the last few years. It’s a different feel from the quartet, who have a wonderfully loose, open approach, especially on 2013’s live set, The Listener. The presence of Phil Robson on guitar and recent recruit Kit Downes on piano gives most of these pieces, from the opener Outlier on, a denser soundscape. These players are far too subtle to crowd each other, though, and the result is recognisably a different facet of the same artist’s work. Here he brings together elements of music he’s experienced through an impressive career to make new compositions that inspire his cohorts.

So we have pieces inspired directly or indirectly by Joe Henderson (Outlier), and a long tribute to Hermeto Pascoal (Hermeto). There is a distinctly Monkish feel to the guitarless The Interloper, while the leader’s Fender Rhodes adds a touch of Bitches Brew to Dream Visitor, also as it builds reminiscent of the more electric portions of Dave Liebman’s classic Sweet Hands, which featured a young Williams in 1975.

Robson and Downes are on top form. Bassist Sam Lasserson is less prominent than John Herbert in the “New York” quartet, but works seamlessly with Williams’ effortlessly varied drumming. The revelation, though, is tenor saxophonist Josh Arcoleo. His tone seems a little darker than you hear on his own debut album a few years ago, or on a more recent session with John Law. He also deploys at more impassioned moments a grainier, more strongly vocalised timbre, than before. None of this impedes his flow: this is a young player coming into his own.

His sound is a key element in the combination of youth and experience in the band. That exchange between the generations complements the Anglo-US personnel – a distinction harder to draw now with Phil Robson’s recent move to New York, and William’s long-time American sax player John O’Gallagher relocating over here. At this point in jazz’s evolution, accidents of birth matter little. What’s important is that players make strong music together, and this fine group certainly do."  -Jon Tourney, London Jazz News

The Listener

Featuring Duane Eubanks, John O'Gallagher, John Hébert

The Best CDs by All About Jazz
C. Michael Bailey's Best Recordings of 2013 


20 of the best UK jazz releases of 2013


"Human scale live recording Williams superbly Motian-like in one of the most considered albums of the year."

The Listener is a logical extension of its two-years-older studio sibling, but it's not the same; these four men have extended the boundaries of their own work and strengthened the connective tissue that binds them. Williams' work with this quartet is special and deserves continued exploration." -All About Jazz

"The Listener's cutting-edge expertise and unwavering emphasis on improvisation makes this thoroughly contemporary music...It's a set of hot-and-cool Ornette Colemanesque themes, hip postbop and slow-burn reflections performed, on this live recording, by Williams' New York quartet."  ****

-The Guardian

"Music that seethes with intelligence, creativity and zest. This is a glorious record, varied, full of subtleties and surprises. Remember those days when you were in a record shop and your heard a track that was a must-buy and you couldn't rest until you had the CD. The Listener is like that." Jazz Views

The Listener is available at www.whirlwindrecordings.com/the-listener/
where you can also hear sample tracks and read reviews. Or click on the image above.
(also on iTunes, Amazon, etc.)

The promotional video for The Listener on Youtube can be viewed here:

Listen to a June 2013 three-part interview with Jeff conducted by 
London Jazz News' Sebastian Scotney
Here: http://www.whirlwindrecordings.com/jeff-williams-3-part-podcast-series/

Another Time

Featuring Duane Eubanks, John O'Gallagher, John Hébert

****  Best CDs of 2012 -Downbeat

Watch the promotional video for 

Another Time 

here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KbL_Q-pAoY 

"Jeff Williams has honed a sound that seamlessly blends a sinewy, propulsive rhythmic sense with a masterful appreciation of space and atmosphere. On Another Time, Williams leads a remarkable group through a series of original compositions that are prefect vehicles for the veteran drummer's singular approach, as well as the quartet's consistently inspired improvisations."
--Matthew Miller The New York City Jazz Record

**** "...The ease of movement between ambiguously floating rhythms and snappy polyrhythmic swing is seductive...these elegantly intricate deliberations make for absorbing contemporary jazz."
--John Fordham The Guardian

All About Jazz.com Editors' 10 Best CDs of 2011

CD of the Year (2011) - UK Jazz Radio.com

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