Jessica Williams, jazz pianist, composer


Currents + | -

About 'Currents', my 'blog'

If you must listen to bad music, use headphones. - JW

This isn't really a blog.

It's an on-line repository, a place to keep my writings, which are usually products of late-night ruminations and memories. I've tried for years to get on "regular" hours but it never works for long. I always wind up slipping back to the old up-all-night rhythms. I thought that when I stopped drinking and smoking, many years ago, my hours would turn around. They haven't.

If I lived in France or Spain, I'd be right in sync with the 9-to-5 crowd.

And you need to know this: as time goes by, I disagree with most of what I write.


I try to sleep but many nights it's the memories that take hold. My memories are about these kinds of things:

My time with the Philly Joe Jones Quintet (which always, for some reason, was a quartet.) My three nights playing with Tony Williams, which was a singularly wonderful experience. My two whole weeks playing in a duo situation with Stan Getz . . . I haven't written that one down yet because I need to remember more. I think we were both semi-conscious at the time . . . m experiences opening for Bill Evans, and the honor of knowing him and talking with him. My many nights on the bandstand with Leroy Vinnegar, the great bassist. My opportunities to play with Red Mitchell, John Abercrombie, Charlie Rouse, Big Nick, and many others.

CURRENTS is also about how Mary Lou Williams affected my life, and it's about Miles and Monk and 'Trane, none of whom I ever got to meet, but whose music I know so well that it's a part of my core.

It's about my succession of little dogs and kittens, and how my love for them has healed me and taught me how to love better.

It's about playing piano, and how your face will always break out on the right side just before a concert, because that's the side that the people get to look at.

And CURRENTS is more than memories.

I just wrote an article about my new disease, hypothyroidism. I have since been diagnosed with Bilateral Meniere's Disease, but am in serious denial.

I take an occasional stab at political bungling, moral codes, and social issues.

There are a few surprisingly successful forays into poetry. Albeit a surprisingly few.

CURRENTS contains silly drawings and a few paintings of mine.

And it contains words. Words that go 'round and 'round in my brain late at night until they must be ousted, and here's where they land.

All those words get stuck here, like bird-poo on your windshield, in this zone we call Cyberspace, and here they remain. For awhile.


Here they remain, I was saying, until I un-post them.

Google may by then be a small nuclear power in East Asia (Googistan?), and America may be called the AU - like Europe is called the EU - and we may have chips in our brains, and our net worth may be stored in bar-codes on our necks, and our money may be called the Amero . . . or the bit-coin.

I don't think so, though. I used to worry but not anymore.

Most of us love freedom just too much to sit still while those chips are implanted, too individualistic to be bar-coded, and too street-smart to be fooled for long.

But I've learned, as did the great writer Kurt Vonnegut, Jr, that anything can happen!


There are all kinds of benign absurdities that you might find here, plus some articles that might make you cry, and hopefully a few that'll make you laugh.

When I read a piece of mine, weeks later, I often totally disagree with everything I wrote. I may then un-post it. Then, weeks or months later, I may read it again on my desktop and decide that it really belongs out there in the world again, and so I'll re-post it . . .

With some articles, this has happened so often that I might as well use javascript to do the posting and un-posting for me, automatically.

It's an insight that I deplore but accept: I am like the weather. My opinions change, my Music changes. My writing style changes, my tastes change, even my dreams and visions change.

Some people can "stay the course" even when it's not working. Me, I re-invent my own wheels, making them rounder to go faster when things are speeding along, and squarer when I need to climb steps or stay put for awhile.

Still, even with the minor vacillations, most of the principles I live by are as solid as they were fifty years ago:

Leave the world a better place than it was when you entered it.

Use your powers for good, not evil.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Be yourself and apologize to no one for it.

Try to be a good neighbor.

Don't steal other people's stuff.

If you must listen to bad music, use headphones.


CURRENTS is just the entity called me doodling on the fabric of space-time, and not really expecting anyone to read it anymore than I expect to hear that SETI has gotten an answer from a planet near Proxima Centauri.

I write because I think, and I write to communicate, and I write to share, and I write so that I'll know what I'm thinking.

It's amazing how our lives are steeped in words. The Internet is based on arcane, bizarre, barely-decipherable code, but some of us can read the code a little bit. And guess what? It's just words giving orders to software (which is more words) to execute certain tasks or commands. Words tell your web browser how to render this page.

Maybe, one day, words will be extinct. Maybe our lives will be linked by deeper codes and meanings, and maybe then we won't even fight anymore.

Until then, for me, there's CURRENTS.


So that's what CURRENTS is about, what it is, what it covers and contains. Memories, back roads through my mind at 4am, thoughts that are sometimes coherent only if set to Music.

That's why I'm a musician and not a writer!

JW, Christmas, 06

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