Gary Williams: Big Band Wonderland with Gary Williams

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Gary Williams

Big Band Wonderland with Gary Williams

December 23, 2015

Reviewed by John Hoglund for Cabaret Scenes

Gary-WIlliams-Big-Band-Wonderland-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Big Band Wonderland with Gary Williams is a diverse, fun mix of Christmas cheer that is about as holiday-laden as spiked egg nog on Christmas Eve. Williams is well known as a big band crooner in England, famous for his traditional treatment of classic pop songs. His smooth, supple baritone is free-spirited and an easy listen on all cuts. Add to that the great swing band and several singing partners and it’s all very cozy and festive. Too, Williams is clearly influenced by Frank Sinatra, which raises the bar another notch on this Christmas pastiche. There are many highlights throughout the disc. He is backed by a strong band featuring deft arrangements by Callum Au, Paul Campbell, Andrew Cottee, John Shenoy and Phil Steel. It all makes this a must-have holiday collection.

Particular standouts include an upbeat treatment on “The Christmas Waltz,” a gem by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne written for Sinatra in 1954. The lush cut also has singer Clare Teal join in making for a classy duet.

(An interesting sidebar to this song is that it was originally on the “B” side of Sinatra’s recording of “White Christmas.”) With this, all the right engines ignite for a holiday blast. Another Cahn/Styne collaboration, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!,” scores well. Williams is joined by Michael Feinstein on a fun oldie made famous by Kay Starr in the early 1950s, “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with the Bag” (Irving Taylor/Dudley Brooks/Hal Stanley). “Snowbound” (Russell Faith/Clarence Kehner) is a warm love song about two lovers lost in a storm. Williams proves exceptional on this well-phrased ditty that is one of the album’s best cuts.

Other highlights are mainly traditional secular Christmas fare.

buy trazodone online no prescription pharmacy

There are many Christmas-related and imaginative songs out there by some contemporary songwriters that are worthy entries in today’s market; do we really need another version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

.” Quibbles aside, Gary Williams has released a strong Christmas album that will surely bring a lot of pleasure to his many fans, as well as to those new to this stylish crooner with an old soul. Listeners are sure to love his take on “Mistletoe and Holly” (Frank Sinatra/Hank Sanicola/Doc Stanford) fused with “Marshmallow World” (Carl Sigman/Peter DeRose) sung with vigor joined by The Patriot Girls (Jo Gibb, Joanne Pullen, Marissa Dunlop) who join on several other cuts on this special album.

The swinging band deserves a lot of credit on this well-produced CD.

buy zovirax online no prescription pharmacy

They are all great and include: Matt Regan (piano); Joe Petitt (bass); Kevin Campbell (drums); Jon Russell (guitar); Tom Walsh (trumpets); Simon Marsh (sax); Jay Craig (sax); Chris Traves (trombone); and Anthony Kerr (vibes).

John Hoglund

For over 30 years, John Hoglund has been a respected entertainment writer covering cabaret, jazz, theater and recordings. His writings have appeared in numerous outlets including the Bistro Bits column for Back Stage. John moderated seminars and forums for the International Cabaret Conference At Yale. He produced many celebrity fundraisers in NYC including one of the first benefits after 9/11: “HeartSong:The Heroes' Concert” at The Bottom Line featuring 36 major stars. He co-produced “HeartSong2: The Heroes' Concert” for Katrina victims at Symphony Space and “Miracle On 35th Street” with a star-studded lineup. Other fund raising efforts include the first benefits for Broadway Cares and God's Love, We Deliver. John served on the Board of Directors of MAC for 12 years. He is well known for championing new and rising talents.