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Back to The George Shearing Quartet and Joe Williams, with the Junior Mance Trio, British Tour - September October 1962

The George Shearing Quartet and Joe Williams, with the Junior Mance Trio, British Tour - September October 1962 009

The George Shearing Quartet and Joe Williams, with the Junior Mance Trio, British Tour - September October 1962 009

Pages 14 and 15 of a programme for the George Shearing Quintet, Joe Williams and Junior Mance Trio tour of Great Britain September - October 1962. Page 14 advertises various Joe Williams releases, with a profile of his career on page 15.

Image Details

Catalogue Reference Number NJA/PRO/34
Creator Benny Green
Date Made 1962
Item Format Programme
Title or Caption
Event Date 29/09/1962

This text has been generated by computer from the image and may contain typographical and/or grammatical errors.

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The Shearing Touch Mood Latino—The George Shearing Quintet
Capitol ST1472 (stereo LP) T1472 (mono LP) Capitol ST1567 (stereo LP) T1567 (mono LP)
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Have a good time Together (with Harry “Sweets" Edison)
Columbia 33SX1415 (mono) Columbia SCX3421 (stereo) 33SX1392 (mono)
Ask your Record Dealer today for full details of the many other E.M.I. recordings by these fine Artists
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Hit Parade diet as chalk is from cheese, and it must have given to many thousands of unsuspecting listeners their first taste of authentic jazz.
Ev’ry Day was, of course, what people sometimes refer to as a “ rocker ”, meaning that it hits hard, makes a fetish of insistent rhythm effect and is unsentimental in its general approach. Joe Williams naturally became associated with this type of material, even though with the Basie band he would sing enough ballads to prove he was not a one-song man. The effect of Ev’ry Day was mesmeric, and it seemed mildly surprising that Joe Williams should ever be caught singing anything else.
I now come to the record album to which I referred earlier. It was called A Man Ain’t Supposed To Cry, a dreadful title taken from one of the less distinguished songs in the selection of twelve. All the tunes were ballads, and all of them were linked by the same theme, unrequited love, loneliness, self-pity, and all the rest of it. In fact, just the kind of album to make a grown adult male listener blow a rude noise, Williams, however, carried it off most impressively, and were I asked to name the best Williams album, I would always be sorely tempted to name A Man Ain’t Supposed To Cry, much as I loathe the title.
My reasons are quite simple. On this album Williams gives more than one sign that his knowledge of how a song should be treated is more complete than almost anybody else’s in the field today, and I recall with particular pleasure his performance on Can’t We Talk It Over and Say It Isn’t So. The first song has always been associated with Bing Crosby, and is rarely heard any more. It was an inspired choice for Williams to make, because it moves in a way very similar to the way much of the Basie band's material moves. Although Basie wasn’t accompanying Joe on the album (the orchestra was conducted by Jimmy Mundy), Williams was by this time saturated in the Basie atmosphere and would obviously be most comfortable singing in that idiom: And it so happens that Can't We Talk It Over has typical Basiesque harmonies, being strongly reminiscent of an actual Basie composition made famous by the tenor saxophonist Herschel Evans, Blue And Sentimental. The very first phrase of the song is a test for all singers, because the way in which they will change the written line will give them away for fakers unless
their ear can guide them to the right patterns. Williams paraphrases beautifully, singing the phrase straight the first time it occurs, and then changing it each time it appears later. His amendments are precisely those you might expect from an instrumentalist, and on the line, in the second eight, “Can’t we get together", he achieves the perfect example of how to respect a written melody and still manage to put in something of your own that conforms to the harmonic laws and is still creative.
In Say It Isn't So, a much-neglected Irving Berlin song from about thirty years ago, Joe does a similar kind of thing. After keeping close to the written line for a whole chorus, he re-enters for the last sixteen on the lyric “ People say that you’ve ” and constructs a delightful phrase based on the pentatonic scale. That probably sounds terribly technical, but in effect, like many musical terms, it describes a very simple effect indeed, and in Say It Isn't So Williams places it at one of Berlin’s repetitive phrases which does not itself move at all. So that the new version gives the song movement, with the new phrase itself sounding reminiscent of Lester Young of all people.
There are other examples of Williams’ artistry on A Man Ain’t Supposed To Cry, particularly a most affecting version of Where Are You? that stands with the Sinatra version as the most moving recording of a most moving song. And there are, of course, several other Williams recordings which rank with those I have referred to, and this body of work shows that Joe Williams is one of the very few singers of the post-war period who can claim with some justification a place among those who are not a waste of the listener’s time.
A few critics have written that he does not sing the blues as well as James Rushing, but then some of Rushing’s critics have written that he does not sing ballads as well as Joe Williams. Each argument is false. Williams and Rushing are two different singers, and had not each been associated with Basie over long periods, nobody would ever have thought of comparing them. It may be enough to say that Williams had to perform, when he first joined Basie, in the colossal shadow (no disrespect intended) of James Rushing. The fact that he succeeded is itself remarkable testimony to his strength of musical character. He is one of a handful of popular vocal artistes who mean anything musically today.