Like his primary influence, late jazz legend Phineas Newborn, pianist James Williams combines soulful gospel influences with the sound of modern jazz. This amalgam engenders a broad appeal and creates a great demand for Williams' services as a soloist and especially sensitive accompanist. Through his company Finas Sounds, Williams has also produced hundreds of concerts, tributes, and events keeping the rich tradition of jazz entrepreneurship alive and creating numerous performance opportunities for himself and many of his fellow musicians.
Pianist Cyrus Chestnut appeals to both aficionados and fans alike. Adept enough to perform with Wynton Marsalis, yet hip enough to make the Peanuts" album swing. Chestnut worked with a number of top-notch musicians including Jon Hendricks, Betty Carter, Terence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison, before recording his first solo CD at the age of 30. Chestnut enjoys mixing styles and resists being typecast in any one niche, though his gospel sound is apparent on a number of his recordings. His recent Warner Bros. debut You Are My Sunshine is the follow up to 2001's Soul Food, one of Down Beat Magazine's best albums of the year.
Only in his thirties, Bill Charlap has already performed with jazz legends like Benny Carter, Jim Hall, Clark Terry, Gerry Mulligan, and Tony Bennett who called the young pianist one of the greatest American musicians of our time." Born and raised in New York City, Charlap, the son of Broadway composer Moose Charlap ("Peter Pan") and singer Sandy Stewart (Benny Goodman) has become the standard bearer for the jazz piano trio tradition. He possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of American standard songs and a refined sense of touch, taste, and group interplay. Charlap has recorded two critically acclaimed CDs for Blue Note Records.