November 5th, 2009
Greg Williamson directing the ensemble on stage at the Triple Door Wednesday night as Earshot Jazz Festival continues.
Greg Williamson’s 16-piece group re-imagined the music of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific (A-Y-P) Exhibition – Seattle’s first World’s Fair.
In an wonderful and fanciful presentation with photos projected behind them, the ensemble presented pieces performed at and written especially for the exhibition (re-interpreted for a modern jazz orchestra), complete with period instruments and costumes and large-screen projections of photographs from the exhibition. Directed by Greg Williamson, the ensemble featured terrific ensembles and solos from the Pony Boy All-Star Big Band. The performance consisted of works by such 1909 hitmakers as John Philip Sousa, Rossini, D.N. Innes, and E.E. Bagley, in addition to original pieces and morphings of works by more recent composers such as Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones.
Greg Williamson, drummer, percussionist and composer, has toured as a member of the swinging big bands of Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, and Harry James. He has also performed with Seattle’s own and widely renowned vocalist Ernestine Anderson since 1991, presently acting as her musical director. For many years he has led his own groups, ranging from Greg Williamson Quartet to the Pony Boy All-Star Big Band. In 1994, he founded Pony Boy Records, which has produced 40 releases, as well as the annual Pony Boy Records Jazz Picnic, and the weekly series Jazz & Sushi.