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Posted by Ricardo Kaulessar, Urban Times News on July 22, 2003 at 09:24:52:

Urban Times News

By Ricardo Kaulessar -

July 1, 2003

Daoud David Williams has worn many hats in much of his sixty years on this earth. Soldier, amateur boxer, artist, librarian, and the most well-fitting and satisfying – musician. Leader of the Spirit of Life Ensemble as well as sitting percussionist since he created the jazz big band in 1975, the lifelong Jersey City resident had seen his musical dreams take him to all parts of the world from poetry houses on Martin Luther King Drive to major jazz clubs in Europe from where the ensemble performed on a musical tour. Williams recently sat down for an interview with the Urban Times News and shared his views on his evolution as a jazz artist, what he sees in jazz music today and other issues.

UTN: What do you think of the premier jazz vocalists performing today? Who are your favorites of all time?

Williams: You can hear that all of them were influenced by the great masters or legends of the past. You hear that in their style, so on and son forth. I like Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, I have a number of CD's by them. I also like Diane Krall. I haven't gotten as much into (Norah Jones) as I would like. I hear her on the airplanes and elsewhere. A lot of times for me, it isn't the singer so much as it is the song. And a lot of times, my preference is for a particular song, and the arrangement of that song. It can be any singer, and their rendition.

I'm a fan of Sarah Vaughan, but I didn't for some songs she did. I'm not knocking her voice but I didn't particularly care for a song. It's the same for Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen MacRae, Betty Carter. In fact, one of my favorite vocalists was Johnny Hartman. I have many of his CD'S, I always loved the arrangements and vocals. And here was a guy who never got the recognition he deserved because he came along at a time when there was a Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis.

UTN: What is going on with the ensemble in the near future?

Williams: There is supposed to be a performance in Plainfield, New Jersey on July 4th but I haven't heard back from the organizer. We got a couple of things kicking around but we don't have a lot of time, since in Mid-July we will be performing back in Europe. We go to Paris, in fact we will be performing primarily in France. There will definitely be performances back here in Jersey City. In August, there will be a concert at the J. Owen Grundy Pier at Exchange Place. And we are working on some other things.

UTN: Thank you for spending a good part of your day agreeing to this interview.

Williams: My pleasure.

For more information on the Spirit of Life Ensemble, please call (201) 333-7950.

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