23 June 2014


Valdo O. Williams (March 30, 1928 – July 8, 2010). Played with Charlie Parker in the 50s (Uptown CD) and with Hal Singer in the 60s.
Was a member of David Avram's trio with Denis Charles which was augmented from time to time with John Ore or Ahmed Abdul-Malik.
In 1964 his trio played with Bill Dixon at the Cellar Coffee. At another occaison Aylbert Ayler joined a trio with Alan Silva, the drummer Gerald Splivvy McKeever and Williams.
Barry Altschul's first gigs were with his group.

"Writers and musicians sometimes talk as if only major players leave the big footprints. But minor players can be key influences, too. Jackie mentions two he knew from his old Harlem neighborhood. By example Ernie Henry (...) Less known was Valdo Williams. In the late '40's, says Jackie, "He was the first guy playing kind of free concept rather than Thelonious, who I thought was always freer then everybody else, even back then. Valdo's solos were very close to what you hear Cecil Taylor playing. When he played a song like 'All The Things You Are,' a blues, or whatever, he would play the correct chords, and accompany all the soloists in the traditional way. But when his solo came, he would stretch out and play against the form. If it was a 36-bar form, he would fill up 36 bars with his chorus, but it wouldn't be based directly on the chords. He would be playing much freer, freer than anybody I'd heard at the time." Williams left New York for Montreal in the early 50's." (Down Beat, October 90, p. 22)
In an interview with Ben Sidran, McLean says that Sonny Rollins used to know Valdo Williams too. 

At least one more LP was recorded  by Discovery but it never surfaced.
In February 1967 the Down Beat magazine (Volume 34,  1967, S. 12) announced a concert of the "New Advanced Jazz Trio".
Since then his whereabouts are unknown.

Valdo Williams, piano
Reggie Johnson, bass
Stu Martin, drums

1. Desert Fox     09:50
2. Bad Manners    11:40
3. Move Faster    05:52
4. The Conqueror  16:40

All tunes by Valdo Williams.

Recorded in NYC, December 20, 1966.

SAVOY MG 12188
(Savoy SV-0238 CD)

(produced by Bill Dixon?)

See also an interview where Alan Silva is talking a bit about Valdo Williams > #


onxidlib said...


steve said...

Looks very interesting onxidlib. Thanks for the listen!

sandor essedy said...

I don't know this pianist although I'm fan of Ayler; thanks for the discovery.

Bill said...

From Parker to Ayler. That really makes you curious. Thanks, onxidlib.

DrEyescope said...

Thank you.I'm very curious to hear this indeed.

kingpossum said...

Wow. Thank you so much for this treat. Count on the mighty IS for bringing to light such undeservedly obscure brilliance.

headman said...

Love these obscure Savoys and this one looks a treat.

Thanks for sharing it, onxidlib.

Dirk Bill said...

Wow! Thank you for this wonderful find. Someone from the fringe, indeed.

Anonymous said...

have been listening to this album a few times through. great stuff.
yes thanks for unearthing this onxidlib for the rest of us!

JD said...

Never heard of Valdo!! Many thanks for bringing another obscure, lost-in-the-mists-of-time artist back to our attention, onxi. Certainly looks interesting!

gaber said...

Thanks a lot onxidlib
very good jazz music!

IB said...

This is a certified lost masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

advanced indeed!
and have to agree with IB.
a very interesting combination of 'inside' and 'outside'
valdo could really play!
excellent drumming and some especially interesting solos.
thank you onxidlib!

-Otto- said...

...and now I wonder where's Valdo been. Almost 50 year old record, and I've never come across this guy's name before. Thank you, onxidlib!

Anonymous said...

oh this looks like a true delight. he has similar taste in eyewear to bill dixon!

thanks very much!

paul said...

Many thanks. Looks very interesting indeed.

twgoble said...

If my memory serves me Valdo Williams can be found on the Bird in Montreal sessions where he shares the piano chair in Charlie Parker's group with a very young Paul Bley

rev.b said...

I discovered this one a year or so ago and wondered when someone would finally post it. I’m with headman, those Savoy jazz albums from the sixties have a unique atmosphere about them, not unlike ESP, but unique. I wish more of them were reissued. There are plenty of buried gems there. This is certainly one. Was this Stu Martin’s first date?

onxidlib said...

The first recording from Stu Martin I know of was with Maynard Ferguson in 1960 (Newport Suite - Roulette R52053).

Doug S. said...

This is a fantastic LP. Grab it grab it, one and all!

Anonymous said...

individual sensibility, great playing, really good. Many thanks for the rip and the post!

Solomon said...

Wow! First time hearing this. A new favorite.

Thank you!!

DW said...

onxidlib, splendid! Not only new, a revelation!! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Heard about Valdo Williams in connection with Jackie McLean, I'm looking forward to hearing this album. Thanks!

Patroy said...

I use go see Valdo uptown in the early 2000's. He told me some interesting things. He said Teddy Wilson lived in his building when he was younger and that T.W. played at some of his dad's parties. He said he studied with Monk off and on over an eight year period. He was living in a nursing home. The sencond time I stopped by he took me to his room and there was sheet music and he said that the people at the home were not into him playing so he practiced late at night. I saw him about 4 or 5 times. Last time I saw him we were sitting on a bench across from where he lived and he said that he knew Bud Powell!!!

Brent Hosier said...

I love this LP. It's "advanced" but not out of reach, in that it doesn't elude you. There's an energy that pulls you along and for the period - tail end of 1966 - it's far more accessible then Cecil Taylor's music of the period. Where as Cecil's Blue Notes are with multiple horn men or two bassists and so on, Valdo is out there alone as prime mover. He may rival Cecil's percussive strength and virtuosity, while at the same time having his very own senses of movement, momentum. As unusual as his name - Valdo. Maybe he knew this would be the one and only chance he had to really lay it down.

rowgatien said...

:~)) Thanks very kindly