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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The New York Times > National > Obituaries in the News > James Williams

The New York Times > National > Obituaries in the News: "James Williams
NEW YORK (AP) -- James Williams, a jazz pianist and professor of music who recorded with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and in his own ensembles, died Tuesday of liver cancer, said Jenise Grice, his nephew's fiancee. He was 53.
Williams began playing piano at 13 in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., concentrating first on gospel and soul. He attended Memphis State University and then moved to Boston to teach at Berklee College of Music from 1972 to 1977.
From 1977 to 1981, he was a member of Blakey's band, playing with such artists as Wynton Marsalis and Bobby Watson and appearing on 10 albums. He also recorded a number of albums as frontman, including ``Alter Ego'' (1984) and ``Awesome!'' (2000), with the Magical Trio.
He moved to New York in 1984 and formed the Contemporary Piano Ensemble, which included three other pianists.
In 1999, he became director of jazz studies at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. He taught there until he was hospitalized in April."

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