Anyone who's stepped inside a Kansas City jazz club during the past several decades has probably run into Stan Kessler, the impish trumpeter known for amusing pranks and soulful solos.
Kessler has played music in Kansas City for 40 years, serving as the jazz scene's crafty institutional memory and passionate conscience. He's seen a lot of ups and downs, but his new album, "Skywatcher," makes a career-defining statement, showcasing his formidable talent at the same time as it demonstrates the vitality of the regional scene.
Charles D. Williams, is a native of Kansas City, Kansas. Mr. Williams has played piano for over 40 years. As a trombonist, he studied under Mr. Leon Brady at Sumner High School and supplemented this training with musical studies under the tutelage of the late Mr. Reginald Buckner. Mr. Williams was a member of the award-winning Sumner Jazz Band that also attended the Paris International Jazz festival in Paris France in 1972, and was auspiciously judged to be “the best High School Band in the World. Mr. Williams also had the pleasure of participating in the Turner House Jazz series in the 70’s – having opportunity to play with such great jazz artist as: Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Roy Ayers, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Ernie Wilkins, Rich Matteson, and many more.
Today, Mr. Williams performs as the pianist for The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra (Clint Ashlock, director). The orchestra just recently performed in Hanover, Germany (May 2018) at the Hanover Jazz Festival, and also in Szczecin, Poland at several major jazz events. This orchestra has backed many artist such as, The New Your Voices, Wycliffe Gordon, Ernie Andrews, Houston Person, Harold Jones, The Four Freshmen, Randy Brecker, Bobby Watson, Deborah Brown, Kevin Mahogany, and many more.
Mr. Williams’ local involvement extends beyond his own performances. He established hi Keyboard Academy where he teaches students and inspires the next generation of great Kansas City musicians. He produces music, makes custom soundtracks, works with vocalist, and mentors young musicians, and just released his third CD entitled “Flavors of Jazz” in April of 2018.