This valuable reissue from Collectables brings together two complete Williams albums from 1963, originally recorded for RCA, on one 73-minute CD.
Newport '63 captures the longtime Basie vocalist leading a red hot festival jam session that includes Clark Terry and Howard McGhee on trumpets, and a pair of pretty fair tenor players, Zoot Sims and Coleman Hawkins. The informal, loosely swingin' set, recorded in front of a loud and appreciative audience, features such well-known Williams blues and gospel-tinged fare as "Every Day (I Have the Blues)," "Roll 'Em Pete," and "In the Evenin' (When the Sun Goes Down)." Few jazz singers can handle the down-and-dirty blues as well as Williams, and with this stellar cast behind him, the results are predictably explosive.
Jump for Joy, which casts Williams in the familiar role of sophisticated big band singer, is an equally rewarding date. With another all-star lineup, this one including Terry, Thad Jones, Hank Jones, Milt Hinton, and Kenny Burrell, and a set of standards arranged by Jimmy Jones and Oliver Nelson, this is one more solidly swingin' effort from one of the best singers in the business.