Roger Williams (1924–2011)

As a young kid studying piano, I somehow acquired a record of Roger Williams playing classics and other stuff. I was mesmerized. I played that record until it wore out, back when it was possible to wear out a recording.

Now, shortly after his 87th birthday, Williams has stepped on a rainbow. Like Steve Jobs, his cause of death was pancreatic cancer.

I’m not going to argue virtuosity, or compare him to other pianists, or disavow his propensity for lush, almost schmaltzy renditions of traditional pop tunes, including his most famous hit “Autumn Leaves.” I’ll just say that he was one of my primary inspirations, without which I probably would never have made even a part-time career in music. R.I.P., Roger Williams. I think if he looks closely, he’ll find that that rainbow has a keyboard…

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  • MandT  On Monday October 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Well done. I much the same feelings about his talent. A good tribute.

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