Joe and the Basie sound are unbeatable
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like jazz and blues vocals, this CD is a must. I got hooked on Joe Williams at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1963, when the 10,000 or so fans could not get enough of him. The seductive singing of Joe is evident in "Hurry On Down" and "Roll'em Pete gets your blood boiling. "Georgia Rose" is my favorite, a sad ballad that builds up to a great finish."
Maturity, where it comes from...
Nikica Gilic | Zagreb, Croatia | 09/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You now how some people describe ageing jazz giants gently and politely?
Talking how their range has diminished, their voice/sound has changed, but they added a new depth and edge... Ella and Dizzy are among the sad examples.
Well, the elaborate variation of the same talk can be found on the liner notes of this beautiful album, but this time this is no hype (and the liner notes' author Will Friedwald is quite right to compare Joe's ability to merge the blues and popular song with Lady Day's)...
Indeed, Joe sounds different than in the earlier days; he is not such an impresive shouter as he used to be, but boy can he still swing!
And his voice does sound deeper (and at times even richer) than in the golden age of Basie/Williams collaoration (more than 30 years before this recording, with Joe and Frank probably being the only musicians from this band who worked with Basie in that period).
I'm not saying all the tracks are equally succesfull, but I'm saying that , for instance, "Jimmy's Blues", "The Comeback" and "My Baby Upsets Me", are equal or almost equal to everything I've heard Joe Williams sing with or without Basie (and he has had some mean sessions with Clark Terry, Adderley brothers, Hawk and others)...
To speak Fosterly (Frankly), I wasn't quite sold on the album untill the fourth track came along - the magnificent Jimmy Jones arranged "Summertime" that sounds fresh as if written yesterday, and Joe is singing that lullaby at his subtlest,
with the band that follows the Basie model with great success...
And yes, there are some hot solos by Foster and other band members, but this is a Joe Williams-Count Basie (ghost) orchestra collaboration;
Joe stars with the full orchestra, gloriously recorded and swinging as if it was 1959 instead of 1992 /the album was released by Telarc the following year/. Foster deserves the credit for keeping the intensity of swing.
In conclusion, I'd just like to add that I'd rather drink muddy water than let you think this album is a waste of time.
although the arrangement of the jubilant "Honeysuckle Rose" is attributed to Thad Jones (who lead the Basie's orchestra after the leader's death and before Frank Foster), I have to say that this arrangement owes quite a lot to another Jones; Quincey Jones who arranged it for the Basie's album with Ella...