Broadway Alley is William Ash’s first recording as a leader for Lollipop, and he is backed here by a fantastic group, featuring the up and coming organist Jared Gold, who contributes two compositions to the CD, and the great veteran drummer Jimmy Madison, whose past associations read like a who’s who of jazz history, including Joe Farrell, George Benson, Hubert Laws, Lee Konitz, Art Farmer, John Lewis, and Quincy Jones.
William Ash has been playing guitar most of his young life. He began learning the instrument at the age of nine, and by the time he was twelve he was mastering Wes Montgomery’s style. During his high school years William studied with Barry Harris and Rodney Jones, and won the Young Talent Search of the National Association of Jazz Educators (NAJE), as well as the McDonald’s Combo Contest. This led to him performing as a soloist with a big band at the Oakland Jazz Festival at the request of Buddy Montgomery, brother of the late Wes. William has continued to work as a sideman with a host of jazz legends, including Jack McDuff, Cecil Payne, Roy Hargrove, and Larry Goldings.
Probably the most striking thing about William’s music is how much it reflects his own personal vision. His sound is familiar, but unmistakably his own. There is always a tinge of the blues coupled with a high-octane rhythmic drive. And William loves the infinite colorations that chords can provide. In the end, though, it is his writing that is most compelling. From the swinging rhythm of “Broadway Alley” to the beautiful melody of the ballad “Mom”, this is great music that stays with you long after the CD has stopped playing.