In Cabaret at The Volupte Lounge, London

Last Thursday, I had a pleasurable musical experience. Gary Williams, who has made some 150 appearances in The Rat Pack – singing/playing Sinatra – is a Grimsby-born vocalist, with an unerring sound and I was privileged to hear him perform at Volupte, a great cabaret room just off High Holborn. Backed by Tom Mark’s good bass (not to be confused with above joke) and a really excellent jazz pianist in Clive Dunstall*, Gary sang two sets of some two dozen songs, interspersed with patter and jokes, which – unlike most of those in The Rat Pack – were amusing e.g., when he saw George Melly perform, Melly was approached by a lady from Hatfield, who told him "30 years ago, in Hatfield, you let me hold your hat." Replied Melly: "Just as well we're not in Cockfosters . . ." The arrangements, by Paul Campbell, were excellent and Gary’s mellifluous style flitted easily around Arlen, (The Witch Is Dead), Berlin (I Love A Piano), Kern (Long Ago & Far Away), Porter (Anything Goes), Rodgers & Hart (Lady Is A Tramp) and many more including a rarely heard Harry Warren composition, Nobody’s Heart Belongs To Me. He also did a sweet duet with Donna Canale but most impressively, Gary involved his audience by singing a song originally written for Matt Munro, titled How Do You Do? – and coming down into the audience and shaking hands with most of them. He also talked to different individuals in between songs. Gary is a man after my own heart! (How often do singers make a positive effort to liase with their audiences?)

Jack Jaffe

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