chet williamson worcester jazz musician

bio

 

 

Reflecting his ability to play a wide variety of musical styles, Williamson has shared stages with many of the world's most popular and finest musicians, including Sleepy LaBeef, Alan Dawson and Joan Osborne. His jazz credits include gigs with Rich Greenblatt, Jack Pezanelli, Reggie Walley, Dick Odgren and Emil Haddad. Williamson’s blues connections are just as deep and varied. As a teenager he played a weekly jam session in the Great Brook Valley Housing Projects. Since then he has performed with such notable players as Kenny Pino, Ken Vangel, Joanna Connor and Troy Gonyea.

Williamson's chromatic harmonica styling can be heard on She's Busy's Strange Bedfellows, Valerie and Walter Crockett's Moonbone and Emily’s Angel, Mike Duffy's Destined to be a Rumor, and the Movie Channel's station ID, "Try a Little TMC."

His own CD release, Chromatic Swing, features jump blues and standards from the Swing era. In his review of the album, Scott McLennan from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette said, “Chromatic Swing is Williamson’s voice coming through loud and clear. The disc is a cooking session of Swing era gems associated with the likes of Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison. It’s a likable fusion of jazz and blues traditions made possible by a cast of strong and colorful players.” In performance, Williamson is a dynamic performer who combines his love of blues and jazz into a mutual landscape of joyous sound. In addition to local gigs that range from Gilrein’s to Mechanics Hall, he has performed throughout Central New England, parts of Canada and Europe.

Williamson is currently maintaining three working ensembles, including, Chromatic Swing, A Herd of Cats (which showcases the pyrotechnics of bluegrass and bebop with the Gypsy swing of Django Rheinhardt), and a duo with guitarist Steve Cancelli, a player of impeccable sound and taste. Hear him on the Monica Hatch CD, If You Never Come To Me. The duo features classic swing and indigo blues mixed with cool bossa novas, impressionistic ballads, originals, standards, and harmonica favorites.

The award-winning and critically acclaimed Williamson began his professional career in writing in 1988. As a freelance writer, Williamson has been featured in the Worcester Telegram, Worcester Monthly, North Shore Living, Artscope, JazzEd, and Blues Wire. Before taking the job as A&E Editor at Worcester Magazine in 1998, he had been a regular contributor to that publication since 1993. Over the years he has written about everything from art and entertainment to sports and politics. He lists Sonny Rollins, B.B. King, Laura Nyro and Waylon Jennings among his favorite interviews.

Williamson is also the author of The Jazz Worcester Real Book, which features bios, profiles and compositions of 100 local musicians. Released by Worcester Publishing Ltd., it is available at: worcestermag.com. He continues to write about Worcester’s jazz history for the New England Jazz History Database.