Friday Night Jazz: Count Basie & Joe Williams

Basie_williams My friend’s Dad is a singer, and a Jazz aficionado. We swap CDs all the time (he’s 25 years older than me). We swap tunes all the time. He turned me into this killer album a few years ago (John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman), and its since become one of my all time Jazz favorites.

The only way I could repay him was with this CD: Count Basie Swings – Joe Williams Sings. Its a fabulous collection by an overlooked Jazz vocalist.

The 1955 Basie and Williams album revived both of their careers. Williams’s elegant style and Basie’s willingness to let the full band open up and run is a great combination. Not all that many signers can compete with that; some kid named Frank did pretty well with Basie.

I become a Joe Williams fan by accident. About a 15 years ago, I was working downtown. I wandered over to the WinterGarden one lunch, and who was giving a free concert, but this honey voiced older gent named — you got it — Joe Williams.

I couldn’t believe the whole place didn’t grind to halt and hang on his every note. People milled about, and ignored him. I stood at the stage front until it was over 45 minutes later.

The other CD of his I truly enjoy is I Just Want To Sing which pretty much sums up his career.

This was the best of the Basie WIlliams videos I could find:

Well Alright, Okay, You Win

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  1. ~mikey commented on Mar 23

    One of the best tenners I ever spent. Concert in the round near Chicago. Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughn, Jimmy Smith, Les McCann/Eddie Harris–a lot of years gone by but that one stands out to this day. Jimmy came out talking Joe like a dog because Joe ran his set over. Then he played that Hammond like a madman to show up Joe. Kicked the pedals off of it by the end of his set. Thanks for reminding me.~m

  2. Norman commented on Mar 23

    1956, a senior in high school. Went to the Blue Note in Chicago (twice) to hear, see and feel the big, big Count Basie Orchestra with the Great Joe Williams. Man, even without a musical background I knew I was getting to experience the best. Get a tingle to this day.

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