Swingin’ on Broadway CD Review

August 22, 2007 in Reviews

Reviewed by Clive Fuller for Encore Magazine.

This latest CD from Gary Williams is the perfect companion for the earlier “In the Lounge with Gary Williams and his Musicians on BOS6814. If I was going to ask Gary to record a new album then I would certainly have suggested some songs from musicals and here we have 15 songs all from Broadway and covering as diverse a group as you could get. All the songs with the exception of “Isn’t it a Pity” were recorded in January 2007 and that dates from June 2004.

The liner notes are penned by the late Ned Sherrin a man associated with musicals himself and I can sense the joy he had listening and writing for the CD booklet. Of course Mr Sherrin was a precise gent and takes Gary to task (lightly) for his inclusion of the wonderful Alec Wilder song “It’s a Fine Day for Walking Country Style” from a show entitled “Miss Chicken Little”. I have done some research too (www.ibdb.com) and sure enough there is no mention of the musical playing on Broadway. Dating from 1953, “Miss Chicken Little” was one of several TV musicals Wilder wrote for the fledgling industry. It featured Jo Sullivan in the title role and George S. Irving as the Fox. William Engvick was Wilder`s collaborator on the project. So there you have it folks, Ned was correct and Gary was right to include this little heard gem on the CD. From the opening song “Chim Chim Cheree” from Mary Poppins through to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Spamalot the pace is well handled both vocally and instrumentally with plenty of opportunity for the soloists to shine. Pianist Clive Dunstall accompanies Gary expertly throughout and there is a super sax solo from Luke Annesley on “Who Will Buy?” from Oliver! Likewise Phil Lee can be heard performing a super guitar solo during the Alec Wilder song. And, a fairly rare instrument the celeste is played by Richard Rodney Bennett on the Gershwin’s “Isn’t it a Pity”. Vibraphone player Justin Woodward clears away the mist for an enchanting sequence during “On a Clear Day” whilst Gary creates yet another memorable performance. The running time is approx 45 minutes. This is a must have CD.

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