Another stellar Joe Williams reissue
Jack Dempsey | South Miami Beach, Florida | 11/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Williams at Newport. In a word, phenomenal. If you are already familiar with Joe Williams, you already have an idea. If you need any further selling, check out the rest of the roster: Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, etc. Yep. That's right.
This is a legendary recording that has finally seen the light of day in the manner it deserved. The sound is fantastic. The packaging is ok, but Bluebird is trying a bit to copy the Norgran Verve and RVG Blue Note reissues too hard (and, of course, falling invariably short). But, don't let that stop you from picking this up immediately. It's a fantastic, fantastic release that you will treasure. Joe is in fine form, his dialogue with the crowd is simply great (he always does have that ability) and the band is smooth, tight and fluid as ever.
Get this, get this, get this. You will not regret it."
Another classic jazz moment preserved by Bluebird...
William E. Adams | Midland, Texas USA | 11/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Bluebird "First Editions" series brings RCA jazz LP's of the 50's and 60's back to life for a new generation via CD reissues. They usually feature a decent booklet, containing a fresh look at the artist and the record as well as the original cover and liner notes. I own five of these at least, "Joe Williams at Newport '63" being the latest to land in my collection. It is quite worthwhile. The majority of the songs are live and uptempo and only four of the 16 tracks are alternate takes. Although I soon will be 60, and have liked jazz since my teens, I was unfamiliar with Joe Williams until I obtained the CD "The Heart and Soul of Joe Williams and George Shearing" (Koch Jazz, 2001--reissue of a 1971 Sheba release.) Every song on that one deals with the word "heart." It took a few listens for me to realize how good Joe Williams was, because on that collection of mellow tunes, his performance is earnestly straightforward and deceptively simple. "At Newport" is a different kind of Joe...swinging in front of a large audience of hip fans, helped by jazz greats like Coleman Hawkins, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims, Ben Webster and others. Joe became Count Basie's main vocalist around 1954, and this disc shows that the Count knew talent when he heard it. If you already like Joe, you will want this on your shelf. If new to Joe, and live recordings of fast numbers doesn't bother you, don't be afraid to invest in this one. If you like studio recordings better, or ballads better, try to find the Williams/Shearing collaboration instead."