By Michael P Coleman

When Deniece Williams took the stage Sunday night for the last of her three show, sold out engagement at Yoshi’s in Oakland, I wondered how she might possibly top her last set of Northern California concerts. The songbird had last performed at Yoshi’s last spring, and simply put, she was phenomenal.

Williams is quick to quote scripture during a concert.  Had I confessed my question to her before the show, she may have drawn on the 8th chapter of Matthew and said “Michael, ye of little faith.” 

And then, she would have sung her still fine behind off…just like she did Sunday night. 

Beginning with her glorious, mellifluous, a cappella rendition of “God Is Amazing,” the 68 year old Williams soared from the start of the show.  She showed off her funkier side with “Cause You Love Me Baby,” “Do What You Feel,” and a bit of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours.”  She reminded us that she’s a peerless balladeer with “Gonna Take A Miracle,” “Black Butterfly,” “Free,” and a show-stopping, show-closing “Silly.” 

Williams let us know that she’s still got of few surprises up her gold lamé sleeve with a faithful tribute to one of her mentors, Nancy Wilson, “Guess Who I Saw Today,” and a reverent ode to the holidays, “O Holy Night.” 

And oh, yeah: Williams reminded us that she’s still that spritely, spirited girl from Gary, Indiana with a buoyant “Let’s Hear It For The Boy.”

Backstage after the show, Williams gave me details on her long awaited, upcoming album, Gemini.  It’s going to be the first jazz album of her career. 

“I’m going to finish recording it in the spring,” Williams said.  “We hope to have it out by mid-year.” 

And guess what’s coming after that:  her first full-length Christmas album. 

Oh, what a holy night that’s going to be! 

Connect with Deniece Williams at

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 Connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman at, follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.

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