HEARTLAND - Heartland - Jessica Williams, composer, synthesizers - 1990 (an all-original electronic-music album) - THIS IS NOT A JAZZ ALBUM
3 Animal Logic
4 The Integral Trees
7 Crystal Bay
8 Monkey Business
9 Prayer for the Mother
Total time 65.01 minutes
All compositions by Jessica Williams, JJW Music ASCAP
Jessica Williams composer, synthesizers, 1990, private collection (an all-original electronic-music album) - only 1000 copies in existence worldwide.
A short note on Heartland;
Jessica has been making electronic music since the late 80's, and has become both adept and attached to the use of e.i. (electronic instruments) in her personal musical odyssey. She simply has never used them in the public arena. They remain extremely unpopular in the jazz idiom, as does any great variance from the 'mainstream'.
All compositions by Jessica Williams. PRODUCED BY JESSICA WILLIAMS. Recorded in November and December of 1989 for EAR-ART Productions at QUANTA Studios Sacramento CA. Recording Engineer - Jessica Williams. Digitally Mastered by Kirt Shearer at Paradise Studios, Sacramento, CA. Duplication by Music Annex, Menlo Park, CA. Cover Painting- "Heartland" by E Arc. 1990, EAR-ART Tapes & Discs, a subsidiary of QUANTA Recordings. All Rights Reserved
One of Jessica Williams' earliest memories is "making up little songs" at her grandmother's piano. Her parents bought her a piano at age seven, and by age nine she was enrolled at the Peabody Preparatory, where she studied the classics until the age of sixteen. Still "making up little songs," her gift for improvisation led to a deep interest in America's indigenous improvisitory art form, jazz.
By her late twenties, Jessica had played with many gifted east-coast musicians, eventually joining the late Philly Joe Jones' quintet. She had also begun her recording career, with three internationally-distributed releases to her credit, before moving to California in 1978.
Relocating in the Bay Area, she worked in the bands of many fine musicians, most notably Eddie Harris, Bobby Hutcherson, Charlie Haden, Tony Williams, and Stan Getz. Four more albums appeared on major labels, and a fifth now awaits distribution. The music of Jessica Williams, while startling in its technical virtuosity and vividly appealing in its creative substance, has been relatively easy to define, identify, and categorize. Until now.
HEARTLAND is full of rich colors and visual imagery. It is healing music, stunningly simple in ways with the capacity to transport and enliven the listener. It is full of events. Not the kind that shock or unsettle, but the kind that logically and generously unfold, gently telling a story about the entrancing beauty of the rain forest, about our lives in relation to it, and about the precarious position of all living things on the planet at the close of this century.
HEARTLAND's story is also about the continuing musical odyssey of Jessica Williams. Neither jazz nor New Age, this music is true unto no category other than its own. For those of us who have questioned the musical validity of the synthesizer, it may come as a surprise that it can be an emotionally expressive, passionately responsive instrument in the right hands. In Jessica's hands, the synthesizer becomes a portal, and through that portal lie vistas and visions and dreams that the contemporary human spirit needs to feel, hear, and see.
Recorded at her home studio in the Sacramento Valley, HEARTLAND is deeply personal and revealing. Some wonderful things are happening in Jessica's life, we can tell. And we sense the promise of much more to come. The thick, humid, primordial "environment" of the title track makes us feel that we are about to witness a birth, and as the music unfolds, we are transported, changed, made whole. We can ask no more of art. Or life.
All sounds on this album are digitally synthesized, using the Kawai K-1. The DX-21 was employed on 'Crystal Bay. The DX-7 Dlgital Sequencer was used on 'Monkey Business' only: all other sounds are played in real-time. A Lexicon LXP-1 Elfects Processor was used throughout.