The critics say all you need to know about the remarkable Sharon Clark:
"Ms. Clark's sound evokes not [Billie] Holiday but rather a less operatic Sarah Vaughan fused with the more animated side of Shirley Horn, a singer who also liked to take her time. Ms. Clark's voice is rich, her phrasing unfussy, her jazz embellishments minimal.
-- Stephen Holden, New York Times
"The brilliant Sharón Clark . . . knows how to personalize the songs of Motown or the Beatles, no less than if they were by Gershwin or Rodgers, and offers an object lesson in how to revitalize someone else's vintage hit in a such a way that the original artist suddenly becomes the furthest thing from the listener's mind. . . . her show at the Metro of songs from her AM radio youth is an absolute triumph." . . .
Like [Sarah Vaughan], her natural sound is almost operatic in its richness, but pure jazz in its improvisational sassiness. But when she brings her remarkable instrument to bear on those pop hits of the post-nuclear age, which she clearly loves, she creates something new and amazing. . . .
All of which begs an additional question: Why has Sharón Clark been so overlooked, particularly in New York, for all this time? That is surely going to change."
Will Friedwald, Wall Street Journal
"A revelation . . . I never thought I'd hear a singer with the range, musicality and command of tone and timbre that was Sarah at her best, but now I have." JazzTimes
"Louis Armstrong Birthday Celebration" featuring Tom Williams and Sharon Clarke as Ella Fitzgerald
Tom Williams Bio
“I think Tom Williams is one of the strongest young trumpeters out here, who
deserves wider recognition. He’s not only strong melodically and
harmonically, he is also strong rhythmically because he’s a drummer as well
as a trumpet player.”
· Jimmy Heath, master saxophonist-composer
A native of Baltimore, Tom Williams has led a sparkling and varied career since he
began studying trumpet and drums as a child. His talent was recognized at an early
age by many, and he began working steadily on both trumpet and drums while still high school student. After matriculating at Towson State University, Tom joined the renowned Duke Ellington Orchestra, under the direction of Mercer Ellington, with whom he played the national tour of the Broadway smash “Sophisticated Ladies”, also touring Japan with the road company. In 1987 he enlisted in the US Army and served 8 years as a featured soloist with the “Jazz Ambassadors” and “Army Blues ”jazz ensembles.
In 1991 he was a finalist and 2nd place winner in the first Louis Armstrong International
Jazz Trumpet Competition sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
A versatile performer, Tom has played in the show bands of Patti Labelle, Liberace,
Anita Baker, Sid Caesar, Joe Williams, Stevie Wonder and Rosemary Clooney, to
name a few. He has appeared at numerous jazz festivals and venues with artist
such as Donald Brown, Hank Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Gary Bartz, The Vanguard
Jazz Orchestra, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Michel Legrand, Ben Riley, Steve
Wilson, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Frank Foster, Antonio Hart, Slide Hampton and Steve Turre. Tom has recorded with Rob Bargad, Gary Bartz, Donald Brown, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, The Heath Brothers, Larry Willis, and Steve Wilson.
He can also be heard on the theme music for the PBS television shows “Washington Week” and “Motorweek”. He is mentioned in the book “The Trumpet Kings” by Scott Yannow which chronicles the history of jazz trumpet players.
As a leader on trumpet, Tom has recorded two CD’s, Introducing Tom Williams, and Straight Street,on the Criss Cross Jazz™label. As a drummer, Tom has performed with Curtis
Fuller, Larry Willis, Javon Jackson, Kenny Drew Jr., Gloria Lynn, Geoff Keezer and
is leader of InterPlay, which has recorded “First Time ”and “Pick Up The Pieces ”on
Tom served as the Jazz Drum Set instructor on the Jazz Faculty at Howard Community College from 2009-2011, is currently the Jazz Trumpet instructor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is the 2014 recipient of the Benny Golson Jazz Master Award.