Review of ‘Alone Together’ or Perfectly Frank Magazine

This CD stands out as the best overall performance to date, of the talents of the best British performer of romantic standards exhibiting a range of talents that improves with every production. No apology is necessary for Gary’s following in the footsteps of other greats of the genre. There is no attempt to imitate the talents of the “greats” because this is a stand-alone performance by a singer at the height of his powers as far as the romantic ballads are concerned. The roll call of composers and lyricists could not be bettered and the CD could well have been entitled “The Best of the Great American Songbook”.

Accompanied by the John Wilson orchestra, surely currently the musicians who can play to the strengths of the best voices available today. Always in sympathy with the singer and the mood of the song, the John Wilson orchestra captures completely the subtle overtones of the music and lyrics of the best writers there ever were. From Carmichael and Mercer to the words and music master, Porter, the selections of numbers deserves and demands the best performances from singers and musicians. Some years ago now this reviewer described Gary’s live appearance at the S.M.S. Birmingham Branch as “this 27 year old master inspired an almost 100% standing ovation”. This now 34-year-old inspires the same sentiments.

Perfectly Frank

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Review of Alone Together from Jazz Views

Artist Gary WilliamsTitle Alone Together Label Vocalion CDSA6809

Gary Williams (vocal) with the John Wilson Orchestra recorded June & August 2004

Although not a household name Gary Williams has certainly paid his dues. He became the regular singer with th BBC Big Band and has also sung and recorded with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra. He has toured the UK with a number of shows including, The Magic of Bacharach, The Les Dennis Laughter Show, Swingin' on Broadway and The Legend of Sinatra. He is currently playing the role of Frank Sinatra in The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas which opened in the West End of London and is now touring with the show in Europe. He has a close working relationship with conductor and arranger John Wilson and he is with John Wilson on this album.

For this album Gary Wilson has chosen a programme of quality standards but apart from "My Buddy" and "The End of a Love Affair" nothing too adventurous but he does tend to include the verses to the songs. He has a very pleasant singing voice but doesn't appear to have any personal characteristics to distinguish him from many other singers. The orchestra and arrangements by John Wilson are first rate and provide a very nice setting.

It has taken me many years to be able to listen to "I Remember You" without hearing the awful Frank Ifield version in the background, but this reading by Gary Williams certainly helps, complete with verse and some lovely trombone by Andy Wood. I liked the slowed down version of "If I Had You" which has Gary Williams voice floating on a bed of strings plus some moody tenor playing by Luke Annesley. John Wilson's arrangement for Cole Porter's "You're Sensational" is inspired full of strings and woodwinds and provides the perfect accompaniment for Gary Williams' pleasant vocal. Gary's reading of Alec Wilder's "I'll Be Around" is probably the best I have heard since Sinatra's version on his "Wee Small Hours" album and the beautiful alto playing is the icing on the cake. Gary Williams' reading of the verse of "The End of a Love Affair" really sets the song up and he sings it at just the right tempo. The album closes with the title track by Howard Dietz and Arthur Sshwartz, "Alone Together" which builds to a dramatic conclusion.

The more I play this album the more I appreciate it, Gary Williams' singing has a quality which makes you feel relaxed and some of John Wilson's arrangements are nothing short of brilliant. If you enjoy quality singing and good arrangements this may well be the album for you, it will save you buying those relaxation tapes.

Reviewed by Roy Booth

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Review of Alone Together for Songbirds

Mention of British singer Gary Williams was made on the list a few months back. His new CD, "Alone Together," is now out and I just received my copy from amazon.uk. On this disc, Gary sings with the John Wilson Orchestra, with orchestrations by Andrew Cottee. This is a beautiful recording, lush and warm and sensuous. Gary has a gorgeous, unaffected, natural voice and delivers the lyrics of each song with great sensitivity and depth. Although the selection of tunes may be a bit pedestrian for the informed Songbirders among us, I think Gary breaths new life into some of these old standards. His renditions of "I Get Along Without You Very Well" and "Why Shouldn't I?" are knockouts. Highly recommended.

Kevin Lemoine for Songbirds