b. 28 January 1929, Windsor, Vermont, USA. Williams took piano lessons as a child and at the age of 12 played in a high school dance band. Four years later he joined the popular Mal Hallett band at a time when many big bands were suffering from sidemen being called into the armed forces. Later that same year, 1945, Williams returned to complete his education, then played locally until 1948 when he joined the Johnny Bothwell big band. The next year he moved to New York, mostly playing bop in nightclubs which included gigging with Charlie Parker. Called into the armed forces at the time of the Korean war, he returned to New York and promptly joined Charlie Barnet then in early 1953 began the first of two long stints with Stan Getz. Throughout the 50s he continued to play clubs, making records with Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and many others. He also found time to continue his musical studies and helped pay the rent by playing second piano in the Vincent Lopez band at the Hotel Taft.
Williams also played briefly with Gerry Mulligan then continued his round of New York club engagements until the end of the 50s when he moved to Florida where he remained, leading a trio at local clubs and also becoming involved in politics. He might have remained there in relative and contented obscurity had it not been for the joint efforts of Spike Robinson, who hired him to play on a Florida date, and Steve Voce, who interviewed Williams for Jazz Journal International in 1994. This all helped bring Williams back to the attention of the jazz world and plans were soon in hand for a resumption of his recording career. Inventive, forceful, with a commanding sense of swing and, importantly, a workmanlike view of the true role of the pianist in both mainstream and bop settings, Williams’ long absence from the spotlight has been a considerable loss to jazz.