© 2018 The Grass Roots Cultural and Performing Arts Center

JESSE WILLIAMS QUARTET

Jesse Williams may be among the Boston artists that has graced the stage at The Fallout Shelter more than any other. He's been a guest bass player on The Fallout Shelter stage for such luminaries as Jimmy Vivino and Roberto Morbioli and as mentor to rising stars Seth Rosenbloom and Sonya Rae Taylor. This is the first time we've actually had Jesse Williams with a band under his own banner. And what a band! The Jesse Williams Quartet is comprised of Berklee Professor of guitar Julien Kasper, Berklee Professor of piano Dave Limina, Berklee drum faculty member Zac Casher and virtuoso bassist Williams. We can safely say Jesse Williams is only lacking the Berklee Professor title out of choice as his skill as a teacher was on full display from the two opening bands this night, comprised of Williams' young students...all in their teens and all just fantastic players. If Jesse Williams desired to be a Berklee Professor of bass technique...he would be. He's Willie Dixon, Jaco Pastorius, Ron Carter and James Jamerson rolled into one...as a sideman he's one thing, in his own element, well, that's quite another thing.

From the opening salvo this was going to be a night for the jazz ages at The Fallout Shelter. Julien Kasper was a highlight reel from the start. He conjured up visions of Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny or Chet Atkins...masters of harmonic tone, elaborate chord progressions and mind boggling technique. He's a world class guitarist known around the world BY guitarists. Even around a trio of equal peers Kasper took the whole place into a different world. His work on "Ronnie's Bonnie" and his own composition "The Reverend" are first class tours of where a guitar can go when the head, the soul, the hands and the instrument are all profoundly in sync. And beautiful...the sound was just beautiful.

Now the night didn't rest solely on the shoulders of guitar master Julien Kasper. Dave Limina is a force of nature. Another player of world elite status who has been the organ sound behind Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters for nearly two decades and is a distinguished Professor at the prestigious Berklee School of Music. Limina is a classic throwback to an era when the organ and piano were lead jazz instruments and soul, gospel and blues began to creep into the jazz vernacular.  His conversations with Julien Kasper spoken with only notes and chords were poetic tips of mutual caps. This was unlike anything we'd really seen before. Something you stumbled upon browsing old jazz footage from some obscure Rudy Van Gelder session. This was special.

Drums by Zac Casher. Zac is another player we'd seen before as a sideman with Michelle Willson and others. He's a seasoned veteran drummer that can sit in with anyone, anytime and play probably anything you can put in front of him. When you're a sideman, your gig is to show up, play the songs, take a bow and head to the next gig. When you are part of the rhythm section for this band, you get take up 1/4 of the air if you want. Zac Casher is a badass drummer and we got to see a side that was always lurking in the bushes waiting to step out. His sense of timing and rhythm was in perfect sync and when the time came for the solos Casher became the 4th lead player with mind-altering technique and style.

Yeah, this...this was special and it was a privilege to be part of it.


 

THE JESSE WILLIAMS QUARTET

Julien Kasper - guitar

Jesse Williams - bass
Dave Limina - Hammond organ, piano
Zac Casher- drums


 

The Session Crew

Produced and edited by:
Bill Hurley

Cameras:
Maribeth Arena

Bill Hurley
H. Nat Stevens
Joanne Craig

Audio:
Eric Nordstrom
Connor Quigley

Mixed by:
Connor Quigley

Lighting/Special Effects:
Rick Smith

Stage Production:
Gerry Earabino

Photos:
Dan Busler Photography