Live In Brazil review by Musical Theatre Review

I must have enjoyed this CD because I let it repeat itself and found myself singing along to some of the tracks. Williams obviously has what it takes to be a cabaret artist – one of the most difficult occupations for a singer. He has charisma and a great voice. Tracks include old favourites such as ‘The Girl From Ipanema’, ‘L.O.V.E.’, ‘When I Fall in Love’, ‘New York, New York’ etc, but alongside the classics there are Kylie and Lady Gaga medleys too.

The CD, I would imagine, is aimed mostly at the Brazilian audience and so all the chat from Williams is in that language, but I did feel like an outsider during these segments, especially when he was telling jokes. You knew everyone was having a good time but couldn’t understand why!

Live In Brazil review by Encore Magazine

This is the new Gary Williams CD which comes hot on the heels of his book Cabaret Secrets (cabaretsecrets.com). Gary has been entertaining audiences both in this country and abroad not to mention on the ocean waves for many years. You may have seen Gary singing songs from the 20th Century songbook including many associated with Frank Sinatra but this CD offers much more... It is evident from the opening medley of The Coffee Song & Brazil that Gary does indeed have a musical affinity with Brazil. This wonderful "live" album was recorded in Febraury 2013 during his headlining season aboard the Splendour of the Seas.

This is indeed the current flavour of Gary Williams singing as he performs many of his favourite Brazilian songs and South America themes plus some surprises and classics of the songbook too. You can hear that the audience are taken along with this theme and the chat is aplenty. The format of the CD is such that the chat segments have their own track numbers allowing for just the musical numbers to be be played if that is your wish.

Gary comes across as enthusiastic and reactive throughout this 62 minute, 22 track, master class in entertaining an audience. It is always difficult to transfer a "live" performance to an album as the contact between performer and audience is so much a part of the success of the show. This album brings with it all the atmosphere of a modern cabaret/stage show. Gary is in fine voice throughout and is backed by a really lively orchestra led by musical director & pianist/keyboards Jack Borkofski.

The modern day medley selections include a Gipsy Kings medley; a Lady Gaga swing medley and the Kylie Minogue shuffle. All time favourites include My Way; L.O.V.E.; When I Fall in Love & What a Wonderful World. These along with the Brazilian themed songs and plenty of other familiar songs make for a special musical journey.

The CD is available from Jazz CDs (www.jazzcds.co.uk); Dress Circle (www.dresscircle.com) and will soon be out to download from the usual places.

Clive Fuller Encore Magazine

"Let There Be Love" reviewed by Journal Into Melody

Gary needs no introduction to readers of this magazine; his work has been praised by us on many occasions in the past. This time we find him in a sophisticated cabaret setting, with superb arrangements by Andrew Cottee. Gary sings in the kind of relaxed and confident manner that can only be achieved by a performer with plenty of experience and bucketfuls of talent. Both Gary and Andrew have deservedly enjoyed considerable success in their careers since 2004, and long may they both continue to regale us with top quality popular music. The future is bright with talents like this around the scene.

David Ades, Journal Into Melody, June 2011

Cabaret Legend Steve Ross on "Let There Be Love"

Finally, I have listened carefully to your marvelous Nat "King" Cole album. The musicians are superb (especially, and of course I would notice, the pianist). I’m so happy you “rescued” this and put it out. You swing with such surprising sensitivity – “End of a Love Affair” (a killer Manhattan saloon song) and “When I Fall in Love” are just two of the tracks that I particularly remember. Steve Ross, May 2011.

BBC Radio 2's Russell Davis review 'Let There Be Love'

It’s a pleasure to welcome into our library another offering from Gary Williams: His latest – “Let There Be Love – A Celebration of Nat King Cole’ doesn’t disappoint. As these are all live performances, the acoustic isn’t studio-sharp but pleasant and atmospheric. Gary sounds on great form - hear him especially on ‘Nature Boy’, a testing piece for any singer – and pianist James Pearson & his Trio are perfect accompanists throughout. Every song (there are nineteen) is, of course, associated closely with Nat but Gary brings is own interpretation to them, with no attempt at imitation. Russell played track 4: 'Walking My Baby Back Home' on Sunday 6th March 2011. Click here to visit Russell's Radio 2 page.

"Let There Be Love" reviewed by In Tune International

"I have often been disappointed with live recordings because somehow they either lack the studio feel or fail to capture the atmosphere of the event. This new CD from Gary Williams which comes from his Nat King Cole show of 2004 does not fail on either score. The performance is backed by a trio of excellent musicians, James Pearson piano & musical director, Jeremy Brown double bass and Matthew Skelton drums & percussion who provide precisely the right accompaniment for each number and there are some lovely instrumental solos and song medleys too. All of the arrangements are by Andrew Cottee. I have always found Gary’s voice to have excellent clarity and here again he sings and phrases songs that you immediately associate with Nat King Cole but given the Gary Williams treatment. In modern day terms Gary is one of the few real song stylists never imitating or mimicking but rather giving his own interpretation of a well loved song. My personal favourites are “Dance Ballerina Dance” which sways so effectively; the atmospheric “Nature Boy”; the jaunty medley of “Sweet Lorraine”/”Love is Here to Stay” and the excellent ballad treatment given to “Somewhere Along the Way”. Recorded at the Caxton Theatre, Grimsby, 15 May 2004  and with a running time of  approx  48 minutes. A must have album for 2011."

Clive Fuller, In Tune International Magazine

BBC Big Band Club magazine reviews both new albums

BBC Big Band Club members will know Gary Williams from his many appearances with the band both live and on Big Band Special. He also performs regularly with John Wilson's and under John Wilson's baton, with the BBC Concert Orchestra. In June 2010 he had two albums being released. “Gary Williams Meets Frank Sinatra” and “Gary Williams - The Best of Abbey Road”. Both titles perhaps need some explanation. The “Abbey Road” album comprises selected recordings made at the Abbey Road Studios in London and all comprising parts of three earlier albums. “Alone Together”,”Swingin? On Broadway” and “In The Lounge With Gary Williams”.

The albums were recorded over a four-year time span and involve 55 different musicians and at least half a dozen arrangers. The musicians and the arrangers include many names and sounds familiar to BBC Big Band fans - trombone solos by Gordon Campbell, sparking piano from Andy Vintner and arranging from Richard Rodney Bennett are just some of the treats in store. I especially enjoyed the variety of musical settings on this compilation. This is very definitely a song-by-song approach and not a set of standard charts played by a set instrumentation. There are some outstanding solos interwoven with Gary?s impeccable interpretation of lyrics - a highly recommended album - available as a CD or download. See www.garywilliams.co.uk for details.

Gary's website also has details of the “Sinatra” album - which is NOT an album of electronically engineered duets, neither is it a “Tribute” album with Gary imitating Frank Sinatra. An alternative, more accurate title might be “Gary Williams Meets Frank Sinatra?s Arrangers” because Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Neal Hefti provide the backing music here - and an all-star cast of British musicians recorded with superb sound quality again, I suspect, at Abbey Road.If you would enjoy hearing an alternative take on “All Or Nothing At All” or Gordon Campbell offering ?another hearing? of that trombone solo in “I?ve Got You Under My Skin” then this album will delight you.

The most pleasing thing about this album, for me, was that it is not a “Tribute” (with a capital T), but is a sincere tribute to the genre that Sinatra created - brought to you by a very talented 21st Century artist who thrives in that genre. Again - details can be found at www.garywilliams.co.uk or your favourite record store.

Gordon SapsedBBC Big Band Club Magazine

Journal Into Melody reviews both the Sinatra and Abbey Road CDs

"There are many so-called "tribute" singers who just seem to go through the motions. Gary, however, shows how it could be and should be done..." Has Britain got talent? Well, yes, but we don't need second rate TV shows purporting to tell us we have. Now there is a great British talent that has been on the music scene for many years and two new superb CDs have just been released that showcase the fine voice of Gary Williams.

Gary played and sang the Sinatra role in the West End production of 'The Rat Pack' so he is familiar with "Ol’ Blues Eye's" songs. On the first CD we have no fewer than 17 selections. Many favourites here and all played in their original arrangements by the great Chris Dean and his Big Band plus strings. Nelson Riddle's arrangements feature prominently including some less often heard gems such as Moonlight Serenade, which Gary gives a lovely reading. The classic Sinatra recording of I've Got You Under My Skin is a tour de force for any singer; Gary handles it skillfully complete with classic trombone break, here faultlessly re-created by Gordon Campbell. Nelson Riddle's daughter has personally endorsed this album and has written the sleeve notes - that's praise indeed!

The second collection is a compilation of Gary's sessions at the legendary studios during 2004 and 2008. It has to be said that Gary works with the best of British musicians and arrangers under the baton of John Wilson. Whilst the songs may be familiar, the inventive arranger can give them a new "coat of paint" and, with the likes of Richard Rodney Bennett, Clive Dunstall and Paul Campbell, be prepared to be surprised. The Monty Python classic Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life is given what must be the smoothest version ever. Small group tracks sit perfectly alongside the lush string ones. The Cole Porter song Why Shouldn't I? is quite stunning, an Andrew Cottee arrangement with a wonderful performance from Gary, is the standout track amongst many. How often have we remarked "they don't make records like that anymore." Well, they still do and here's the glowing proof. There are many so-called "tribute" singers who just seem to go through the motions. Gary, however, shows how it could be and should be done, but then it's Gary who has the talent, and boy, does it show. It seems like a sign of the times that these superb albums are not widely available but can be obtained by mail order from Dress Circle, 57-59 Monmouth Street, London, WC2H 9DG or online from iTunes.

Albert Killman – Journal Into Melody

Sinatra Society Review of The Best of Abbey Road

This album has been released alongside Gary's latest CD (Gary Williams Meets Frank Sinatra) and is a specially selected compilation of numbers drawn from three of his earlier albums. As one would expect with Gary Williams, this is an excellent representation of his artistry. It is packed with Great American Songbook standards such as Cole Porter's 'Anything Goes', George Gershwin's 'Isn't It A Pity', and Rodgers and Hart's 'This Can't Be Love', but also includes items from the musicals up to and including 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' from Spamalot. A refreshing treatement of 'Music to Watch Girls By' is also in the mix. For those not having any Gary Williams CDs, this is a perfect starting point for anyone enjoying music synonymous with the tastes of the Sinatra Music Society. Highly recommended.

Jeff Mustow, Sinatra Music Society

Gary Williams - The Best of Abbey Road - In Tune Magazine review

Fans of Gary’s will probably already have these recordings which were made at the famous studios between 2004 and 2008. However, the 18 selections included here make for perfect listening and are a spotlight on a great voice. You will hear not only big orchestral backings but the more intimate settings for which many know Gary already. The albums from which the songs come are “Alone Together”; “In the Lounge with Gary Williams” & “Swingin’ on Broadway” and I would recommend these to anyone who enjoys a song sung as it should be. Gary can have the lightest of touches with a song as well as a more robust approach when it is needed. The arrangements bring out the best from the song the musicians and the singer.

I found the songs on this album reflective, uplifting and encouraging for a variety of reasons. I still think we do not hear enough of this kind of music on the radio or television and so something like this is a real shot in the arm. Who could ever forget Vincent Youmans “More Than You Know” or Cole Porter’s “You’re Sensational”; Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Surrey with the Fringe on Top”; the Gershwin’s “Isn’t it a Pity” and these are only 4 reasons why you should buy this album. The 57 minutes it takes to play this CD go by too quickly but then we can always press the play button again and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Don’t miss this album and yes it does go onto my Top 10 of 2010.

Fans of Gary’s will probably already have these recordings which were made at the famous studios between 2004 and 2008. However, the 18 selections included here make for perfect listening and are a spotlight on a great voice. You will hear not only big orchestral backings but the more intimate settings for which many know Gary already. The albums from which the songs come are “Alone Together”; “In the Lounge with Gary Williams” & “Swingin’ on Broadway” and I would recommend these to anyone who enjoys a song sung as it should be. Gary can have the lightest of touches with a song as well as a more robust approach when it is needed. The arrangements bring out the best from the song the musicians and the singer.

I found the songs on this album reflective, uplifting and encouraging for a variety of reasons. I still think we do not hear enough of this kind of music on the radio or television and so something like this is a real shot in the arm. Who could ever forget Vincent Youmans “More Than You Know” or Cole Porter’s “You’re Sensational”; Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Surrey with the Fringe on Top”; the Gershwin’s “Isn’t it a Pity” and these are only 4 reasons why you should buy this album. The 57 minutes it takes to play this CD go by too quickly but then we can always press the play button again and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Don’t miss this album and yes it does go onto my Top 10 of 2010.

Clive Fuller. June 2010

Gary Williams Meets Frank Sinatra - In Tune Magazine review

Gary brings freshness to these 17 standards and in conjunction with the excellent Chris Dean orchestra he takes us on a trip through many of my own favourites and hopefully yours too.

Gary is not a Sinatra impersonator he is a song stylist in his own right. A vocalist that can be as comfortable singing up tempo songs, rhythmic numbers, as well as performing slow ballads making him a much sought after talent.

Just listen for example to his jaunty treatment of both “I Get a Kick Out of You” & “Brasil” and then his powerful working of “Where or When” which has some super piano playing too not to mention his enchanting performance on “The Girl from Ipanema”. With Chris Dean using arrangements by Nelson Riddle; Neal Hefti; Billy May & Claus Ogerman this is sure to please big band fans. The stereo sound quality is excellent throughout and the Chris Dean orchestra comes across wonderfully crisp in this state of the art recording. This CD goes straight onto my Top 10 of 2010 list!

The packaging in a light weight butterfly style folder which is very attractively illustrated makes this easy on the eye and the liner notes by Rosemary Riddle Acerra are very interesting.

Clive Fuller - June 2010

"Gary Williams Meets Frank Sinatra" comment from Roy Oakshot

“These CDs are superb… I can’t recall a vocal production of this quality coming out of a British studio since the days of Matt Monro’s best work. Not only Gary’s voice, which is just so on song now, but the orchestrations and the performances of Chris Dean and co – and the wonderful audio engineering – all come together to make a breath-taking listening experience.”  Roy Oakshot Radio 2 Producer

Swingin’ on Broadway review for Big Band World Magazine

Master arrangers Clive Dunstall and Andrew Cottee are the perfect people to settle Gary Williams into a smooth and swinging groove as he ambles effortlessly down Broadway, one minute plucking out the unlikely Chim Chim Cheree and the next riding The Surrey With The Fringe On Top. And then Richard Rodney Bennett joins him as arranger and celeste player for the Gershwin’s Isn’t It A Pity and the set ends (naturally!) with Always Look On The Bright Side from Spamalot. It’s a well-paced CD of enjoyable variety, skilfully performed. Gary’s in great voice and all’s well. I think I would rate this his best showing to date. Impressive sound balance achieved by producers John Wilson and Mike Dutton. Five stars

Radio 2’s Malcolm Laycock

View the complete Reviews archive »

In the Lounge - Album review (Journal Into Melody)

One could describe this collection as ‘cocktail’ or ‘late night’ music, but that would imply that it should be enjoyed while doing something else – possibly more interesting. But that is not the case! Gary’s approach to his lyrics, and his empathy with his musicians demand your full attention, and his choice of numbers confirms what a wonderful period in history the last century was for high quality popular songs. Being the supreme professional that he is, Gary occasionally surprises by slipping in a verse that others have not treated us to previously. The general tone of the album is up-tempo, and the fine musicians performing the great arrangements created specially for Gary include Graham Harvey (piano, Dave Chamberlain (bass), Matt Skelton (drums), Martin Kershaw2 (guitar), Andrew Cottee (vibes) and Luke Annesley on reeds and flute.

If I have one minor criticism it concern the almost unreadable printing in part of the booklet- but that is the fault of the printers, not the musicians! Gary Williams simply gets better all the time – a great CD.

David Ades for Journal Into Melody

View the complete Reviews archive »

In the Lounge with Gary Williams - Album review (MFR Radio)

I recently featured the Gary Williams CD 'IN THE LOUNGE' and I think it is really outstanding. I especially like him because he sings "standard" without thinking he has to twist the melody or find a rock style rhythm. He is following in the Sinatra, Bennett, Cole style without imitating any of them. I played 3 tracks and it was hard to pick which to use. All the songs are as good as one another. The backing is great throughout, and what lovely piano playing - in I'm Glad There Is You it is well-nigh perfect.

I think the best thing of all is that not only are Vocalion putting out present day singers but the standard of sound is so high. Congratulations to all at Vocalion.

Syd Atkinson for MFR Radio

View the complete Reviews archive »

In the Lounge with Gary Williams - Album review - The Singer magazine

One might ask what the point of recreating almost to the letter the vocal sounds of Dean Martin's 'Music to Watch Girls By' era of easy swing, as executed by Gary Williams on his new album 'In the Lounge with Gary Williams and his Musicians'. The point would be that the music is given a new, contemporary life by a young singer and thus potential propulsion towards new audiences - which is always a highly valuable endeavour. Williams' vocals may be a little too reproductory of Martin's, but there is no denying the ease and rhythm blended therein. The album does achieve its aim of providing upbeat background chill-out music and anyway, one could argue that this is the only way to sing these types of songs. Antonia Couling for The Singer Magazine

In the Lounge with Gary Williams - Album review (Perfectly Frank Magazine)

Imagine the scene – low lighting, comfortable airchair/settee, favourite drinks with friends of like musical tastes and @In the Lunge with Gary Williams and his musicians’. Sounds good to this receiver! Gary, for this CD, has chosen a range of classics by world-class tune and songsmiths and selected a group of first-class musicians, who react superbly to each song to record what evolves in to an intimate private concert.

Who could ask for more from a singer whose skills have grown as his mastery of the genre has increased immeasurably over the last few years?

All praise to the composers, lyricists, arrangers, musicians, conductor and production team – all of whom have pulled out the stops in this endeavour. To name names (all are on the sleeve notes) would give the false impression that one or other was more important. Not so! A truly classic mix from a highly talented team.

Derek Harper for Perfectly Frank Magazine

View the complete Reviews archive »

In the Lounge with Gary Williams - Album review for Big Band World magazine

After Gary’s last superb foray with the John Wilson Orchestra, this new CD has him in the intimate setting of a smooth and gently swinging small group Arranged for him by rising star Andrew Cottee, with just one title arranged by Richard Rodney Bennett. It shows a more intimate side of Gary and he doesn’t put a foot wrong. He swings when needed. He smooches when needed. He caresses when needed. His phrasing is sure, his intonation spot on. It’s an intelligent reading of a set of ‘standards’ which is never pretentious and always satisfying. Best of all, he sounds like Gary Williams and not like anybody else. At one time Gary would have been a world star. Dream the possible dream…!

Radio 2’s Malcolm Laycock

View the complete Reviews archive »

In the Lounge with Gary Williams - Album review (Bournemouth Echo)

The star of several Bournemouth summer shows Gary Williams has received huge critical acclaim from everyone from Michael Parkinson to David Jacobs for his new CD In the Lounge with Gary Williams. Gary, of course, appeared with David Jacobs here in Bournemouth in The Legend of Sinatra, which was truly amazing, and in 2004 he received his West End debut recreating the role of Sinatra for The Rat Pack Live from Vegas. The new release, in which he has assembled six superb jazz musicians, has a lilting jazz feel with exciting new arrangements of old familiar classics.

Andrew Cottee, the ace young arranger, has given Music to Watch Girls By a brooding allure, while Dean Martin?s I Can't Give You Anything But Love, has a more relaxed, playful mood. Songs like Life is Just A bowl of Cherries and I've Got the Sun in the Morning remind us it?s the simple things in life that matter.

Whether playing this in the lounge or in the car, you are always in good company with Gary. A charming, charismatic performer his vocal skills make him a fine match for the likes of Sinatra and Dean Martin. In the Lounge with Gary Williams is available now on the Vocalion label, CD number CDSA6814.

Hilary Porter for the Bournemouth Echo

View the complete Reviews archive »

Malcolm Laycock's Review of 'Alone Together' for 'Big Band World' magazine

Gary Williams / John Wilson Orchestra*****Alone Together 15 tracks. Playing time 54’ 07”. Vocalion CDSA 6809

A collection of gentle ballads from the great American songbook, stunningly sung by Gary and perfectly accompanied by John Wilson. The fresh arrangements by Andrew Cottee are simply beautiful. I’ll stick my neck out and say I think this is the finest vocal record of its kind to emerge from Britain since the days of Matt Monro. It is rare for me to be able to listen right through a whole CD without getting restless, but not so with this. Not only that, Mike Dutton’s sound engineering (recorded at EMI’s Abbey Road studios) reminds me of the halcyon days of Capitol Records. As I said on Radio 2, “Just when you thought that record companies were not making such records anymore, up pops Alone Together. A great team of young talents which bodes well for the future.