“Gary's clear and resonant voice, coupled with his perfect tuning and diction, goes a long way to delivering this collection with aplomb.”
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!
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
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
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.
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.
"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 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