A message from Rosemary Riddle
The daughter of Nelson Riddle – Sinatra’s favourite arranger – Rosemary Riddle, talks about Gary and the album.
It is fair to say that the Nelson sound defined an era and remains a cornerstone of popular music culture even today. Today his vintage sound reawakens what some call the “American Dream”, but I think it more fitting to consider it a reassuring cocktail of optimism and nostalgia. From Dad’s Unforgettable early arrangements for Nat Cole right through to his last works for Linda Ronstadt in the early 1980s, there is a purity and honesty in the arrangements that epitomises a bygone era. The enduring nature of his work and those of his contemporaries, including Billy May and Neal Hefti, needs interpreters such as Gary Williams to breath new life into these classics and pass the torch of optimism onto future generations.
The eight Riddle charts herein give a good overview of Dad’s career beginning from his early days as trombonist / arranger in the Tommy Dorsey band. It is interesting to note that he also arranged each of the other songs on this CD at one stage or another for various artists. The warmth of Gary’s tone and prolonged legato phrasing are particularly evident in his interpretation of Nancy, whilst his characteristic bounce and dashing personality shines through in Luck be a Lady.
I first got to appreciate Gary’s vocal talent during some live shows we worked on together in Dublin several years back, and it was clear that his interpretation would help our cause to keep this music alive. It is so reassuring when I turn on the TV and see something that features Dad’s music to know that his legacy is alive, well and experiencing somewhat of a renaissance. All too often the Nelson Riddle Trust is approached by Sinatra impersonators to endorse their work, and invariably we decline. Gary on the other hand brings his own personality to these charts with neatly juxtaposed vintage stylings and modern flair. He always manages to retain the integrity and stylistic nuances that are so critical to this genre.
I hope that you enjoy this CD as much as I have.
Rosemary Riddle Acerra
“What Gary has in common with great singers like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Harry Connick Jr, is the ability to take a song, put his personal mark on it and make it his own; the ability of a true song stylist.” London What’s On
“There is no attempt to imitate the talents of the “greats” because this is a stand-alone performance by a singer at the height of his powers..” Perfectly Frank Magazine
“These CDs are superb… I can’t recall a vocal production of this quality coming out of a British studio since the days of Matt Monro’s best work. Not only Gary’s voice, which is just so on song now, but the orchestrations and the performances of Chris Dean and co – and the wonderful audio engineering – all come together to make a breath-taking listening experience.” Roy Oakshot Radio 2 Producer
“I’m delighted to say that Nelson Riddle’s daughter, Rosemary, has generously provided the sleeve notes. I had the good fortune to work with her a couple of years ago in Ireland with the RTE Concert Orchestra and Big Band for the 50th anniversary of “Songs for Swingin’ Lovers”. It’s a measure of that single album’s influence on popular song that “Gary Williams Meets Frank Sinatra” includes Under My Skin, How About You, and You Brought A New Kind of Love to Me. It’s been a long time coming but I have finally got around to recording a Sinatra tribute album with full big band and strings provided by Chris Dean and his Orchestra. As you know, the last thing I consider myself is a Sinatra impersonator; this is simply me singing some of my favourite Sinatra songs. It was be released in the UK simultaneously with “The Best of Abbey Road”on the 1st June 2010, and in Japan on 2011.” Review from In Tune Magazine