Keller Williams

Dream [Sci Fidelity]

Keller Williams is renowned for his live-looping extravaganzas—literally jumping from one instrument to the next to become a one-man jam band onstage. Of course, that’s not nearly as impressive when it’s done track by track in the studio, which is why it’s cool that Williams took the opposite tack on Dream, focusing on traditional band arrangements featuring an A-list of guest pluckers. Eight-string wonder Charlie Hunter adds underwater textures and a wisely phrased solo to the funky flow of “Kiwi and the Apricot.” Béla Fleck’s signature banjo rolls and Victor Wooten’s brilliant bass popping augment Williams’ own slapping acoustic guitar on “People Watchin’.” Garaj Mahal’s Fareed Haque adds Eastern elements to “Cookies” via his instrument, which is a cross between a guitar and a sitar. Jam guru Steve Kimock takes “Twinkle” to Deadhead land, and John Scofield and Wooten transform “Got No Feathers” from singer-songwriter fare to a far out jazz-jam journey. Williams’ warm, quirky-hippie aesthetic pervades the proceedings and keeps it his own record despite the maxed-out guest list.
—Jimmy Leslie