In 1969, J. Kimo Williams found himself entranced by Jimi Hendrix's performance of "Spanish Castle Magic" at a Waikiki Shell concert, marking the moment when his lifelong dedication to music took root. Shortly after, he enlisted in the Army, serving in Vietnam. This experience, combined with his departure from Hawaii, propelled him to pursue his musical aspirations at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
At Berklee, he encountered the genre-bending Mahavishnu Orchestra, inspiring his decision to study composition. During a course called "Styles and Analysis," the classical works of Mussorgsky and Messiaen captivated him, expanding his creative horizons.
With foundational knowledge in harmony and arrangement, J. Kimo began composing for jazz big bands, incorporating classical instruments like strings, French horn, and more. As Berklee's focus leaned toward jazz, he established his ensemble, "The Paumalu Symphony," named after his Hawaiian street.
A pivotal moment came with his creation of "Symphony for the Sons of Nam," a work that gained national radio play and composer awards. His path led to Chicago, where he recommenced his military service and co-founded "Little Beck Music" recording label and studio in 1990.
Renaming his project "Kimotion," he collaborated with Chicago musicians, crafting a blend of contemporary Jazz-Fusion with rock nuances. His debut album, "War Stories," released in 1991, received acclaim, serving as a cathartic exploration of his Vietnam War experiences.
"Tracking," his 2001 release, featured notable musicians like Victor Bailey, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Michael Brecker. Collaborating with Gary Sinise led to the formation of the Lt. Dan Band.
"Kimotion Live 2002 With My Friend Vinnie" captured a vibrant performance, while subsequent years saw J. Kimo reimagining and remastering his works across various studios.
Looking ahead to 2023, his focus turns to "The Red Summer 1919 - An Instrumental Opera," a project honoring Black WW1 Veterans, set for release on Veterans Day. Incorporating modern technology, J. Kimo aims to create an emotional bridge between his music and listeners, reflecting his enduring commitment to meaningful connection through art.
"Powerful Stuff 4 1/2 stars" - Downbeat
"A fat slick sound with horns slicing through guitar grunge" - Jazzizz
"Williams comes up with a sound that is sheer energy and unpretentious." - Chicago Suntimes
"Williams' brilliant,razor-edged mosaics bristle with the audacious rawness of Zappa" - Jazztimes
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