In the Lounge with Gary Williams

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“Best of all, he sounds like Gary Williams and not like anybody else. At one time Gary would have been a world star.” Radio 2’s Malcolm Laycock.

Six of the country’s finest jazz musicians play arrangements back at the Abbey Road with John Wilson producing. Sleeve notes by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith.Track listing:

1. Music to Watch Girls By
2. Sweet Lorraine
3. I Thought About You
4. A Swinging Affair
5. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
6. I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning
7. Lover Come Back to Me
8. Fly Me to the Moon
9. I’m Glad There Is You
10. Baubles, Bangles and Beads
11. Call Me
12. All That Jazz
13. Change Partners
14. Let’s Get Lost
15. Let There Be Love
16. Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries
17. As Long As I’m Singing

Personnel:
Graham Harvey – piano
Dave Chamberlain – bass
Matt Skelton – drums
Luke Annesley – horns
Martin Kershaw – guitar
Andrew Cottee – vibesProducer – John Wilson
Mike Dutton – Executive Producer
Chris Bolster – Engineer
Assistant Engineer – Scrap Marshall
Arrangements – Andrew Cottee and Richard Rodney Bennett

Recorded at EMI, Abbey Road, Studio 3: 6th, 7th, 8th, 20th February 2006.

Reviews and comments:

Radio 2’s Michael Parkinson played ‘Sweet Lorraine’ and said “I like that… excellent”
Radio 2’s Malcolm Laycock played ‘A Swingin’ Affair’ and said “…another great singer, Gary Williams… with songs all beautifully arranged for him by Andrew Cottee… and the songs are all carefully chosen to fit the smooth texture of Gary’s voice.”
Radio 2’s David Jacobs played ‘Music to Watch Girls By’ and said, “not only is he a lovely person, but he’s also a fine singer…”
Radio 2’s Russell Davies played ‘I Thought About You’ and described Gary as “one of our most reliable singers…”
After playing Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries, Radio 2’s Desmond Carrington said “his light touch and deft style are very much his own… I think the ‘lounge’ in this venue is one where the spotlight can pick out the star who entertains when other lights are low.”
“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 for Big Band World 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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“This 17-track and 48-minute selection is one of the most relaxed albums that I have heard. I attribute this to the superb combination of the vocalist, musicians, arrangements and material lending itself to the gentle swing that is achieved throughout the set. The experience of entertaining at London’s prestigious Royal Garden Hotel on a regular basis has added to an already sparkling style of vocal presentation. The songs are ideally suited to the atmosphere that Gary wanted to achieve and he gets 10 out 10 for achieving just that. Stand out tracks, and it is genuinely difficult to single out just a few, are the opener “Music to Watch Girls By” with its subtle vibe’s from Andrew Cottee likewise “A Swingin’ Affair” last seen as part of the stage musical “Summer Holiday” (great double bass from Dave Chamberlain and Clarinet from Luke Annesley.) Always a favourite of mine is “I’m Glad There is You” a vintage song with a meaningful lyric and beautiful piano playing from Graham Harvey and gentle percussion from Matt Skelton. Given a running time of 4 minutes and 30 seconds this is taken at just the right pace. A definitive reading I suggest. And who couldn’t be pleased with “Let There be Love” a timely reworking of the Nat “King” Cole hit. All the accompaniments are charming throughout. Gary pens an interesting liner note and there is even a note from author and music lover Alexander McCall Smith. This latest CD makes a beautiful companion to his earlier “Alone Together with Gary Williams and the John Wilson Orchestra on Vocalion CDSA 6809. A worthy Top 10 of 2006 CD in my book.” Clive Fuller for “In Tune” Magazine