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Joe Williams: A Man Ain

Jim Santella By

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Sorely missed since his passing last year, Joe Williams set a mark for high standards that few are willing to follow. Only a handful of male jazz singers hang on to that valuable tradition today. Known for his definitive performance of the blues, Williams captured the hearts and minds of a broad audience. As a big band singer, he brought perfection to the stage. Throughout his 60-year career, he explored many different aspects of the jazz and blues world. This reissue comes after being out of print for nearly 25 years. Originally released in 1958 as Roulette 52005, A Man Ain’t Supposed To Cry features strings, a harp, oboe and other orchestra ballad reminders. It’s an album of slow, romantic ballads. A piano trio shows up in places. Jimmy Mundy’s arranging gives several numbers a big band tinge with muted trumpets and saxophone section. However, the album’s emphasis is on a romantic, full string orchestra sound.

The title track stands out for its dramatic jazz sensibility. Bass clarinet, flute, and a brief alto saxophone spotlight lend a searing touch to the arrangement. The song, of course, is a killer that many singers could perform well. Joe Williams just did it a whole lot better.


Track Listing: What

Personnel: Joe Williams- vocals; Jimmy Mundy Orchestra.

Title: A Man Ain | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Label M


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