Gareth Williams (piano), Laurence Cottle (bass), Ian Thomas (drums)
One of the most intensely creative, dynamic and exciting performers on the UK scene, Gareth Williams has been receiving increasing critical and public acclaim since becoming a professional musician in the early 90s.
Described as “jewel of a player... spinning out luminous introductions and codas” by Jazziz Magazine (USA), he has dazzled audiences not only by his virtuoso approach to the piano, but also by his multi-instrumentalist talents on guitar and vocals.
Born in 1968 into a highly musical family, Gareth took up the piano at the age of five. He turned professional after graduating in English Literature from Cambridge University in 1990 and went on to study music at London’s Guildhall, initially on guitar, later switching to piano. It is mainly as a pianist that Gareth has earned a glowing reputation both in the UK and abroad over the past few years, but his singing and guitar playing have gained increased recognition in their own right. An electrifying performer, he has been described as “…a fantastic improviser” by John Fordham in The Guardian and “If you’ve seen Williams perform, you’ll know that he’s the embodiment of creative energy, a physical player who gets wrapped up in his work, with a keyboard command that’s both impressive and well-directed” by Peter Vacher in Jazzwise.
His first major professional engagement was as keyboard player/MD for jazz hip-hop band Us3 (whose most celebrated hit was ‘Cantaloop’). He performed with the band on a world tour in 1993 and appears on their album ‘Broadway & 52nd’ (Blue Note).
Gareth has since worked as pianist/MD for internationally acclaimed jazz singer Claire Martin (several times winner of the British Jazz Singer of the Year awards) and has also been involved in arranging her music, writing original compositions for her band, singing and playing guitar. He has worked with many international jazz greats, including Art Farmer, George Coleman, Bud Shank, James Moody and Dave Liebman, plus top British musicians such as Jim Mullen, Martin Taylor, Martin Drew, Tommy Smith, Tim Garland, Clark Tracey, Gwyneth Herbert and Iain Ballamy.
As bandleader, he formed the Gareth Williams Trio in 1995, featuring Gareth on piano, guitar and vocals, Dave Green on double bass and Tristan Mailliot on drums. The trio released their debut album ‘THREE’ (Jazz House), recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s in 2001.
In 2005 Gareth showcased a new BBC Radio 3 commission, Poems from the 20th Century, written for iconic British vocalist Norma Winstone.
Gareth is also a member of Iain Ballamy’s Anorak, featuring Steve Watts on bass and Martin France on drums. He has appeared on the band’s album “More Jazz”.
Gareth’s latest project is The Gareth Williams Power Trio, featuring Laurence Cottle on electric bass and Ian Thomas on drums. The Power Trio released ‘Shock!’ (Linn Records) to great critical acclaim in March 2009. The album features twelve original compositions and a blistering interpretation of John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’. ‘Williams is a hugely gifted pianist, with an apparently endless fund of ideas, plus the detachment to organize them into coherent shapes’. Dave Gelly, The Observer. ‘A prodigiously talented pianist… a joyous, uncompromising celebration of sophistication, musicality, muscularity, it’s shockingly good’. Mojo Magazine. ’The wow factor in Gareth Williams’ all-Welsh trio comes from projecting controlled, inner power into the music… Altogether a triumph of Welsh wizardry. 5 stars’ Garry Booth, BBC Music Magazine.