252

Joe Williams: A Man Ain't Supposed To Cry

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
When Joe Williams passed away in March of 1999 while walking home in Las Vegas, he of course was acknowledged as one of the greatest vocalists in jazz. Legions of jazz musicians enjoyed performing with him and admired the way he crafted a song, not to mention the way he knew how to add character to a big band with the sound of his voice. Nancy Wilson's respect overflowed when she interviewed him on Nancy Wilson's Jazz Profiles. A concert at the Hollywood Bowl after Williams' death attracted musicians from New York, as well as from the West Coast, so that they could honor his legacy. No male jazz singers seem to be on the horizon to even hint at recalling Williams' way of affecting an audience.

But when Roulette recorded A Man Ain't Supposed To Cry , Williams' reputation was sealed for big band and blues singing, primarily because of his hit, "Every Day I Have The Blues." What A Man Ain't Supposed To Cry revealed, and what is now taken for granted, was that Williams was a supreme balladeer as well.

With lush string arrangements by Jimmy Mundy, known for his Earl Hines and Benny Goodman arrangements, Williams delivers songs like "Say It Isn't So" with an ease that proves his versatility and remarkable sense of connecting with his audience—even an audience that was imagined in the recording studio during that October in 1957.

Not that the arrangement detracts from Williams' talent, but he could be just as effective with a trio—or in solo. His consistency throughout the CD positions him in the tradition of male romantic singers, like Sinatra, as his articulation and sense of phrasing conveys the meaning of each tune in an unmistakable clear baritone voice. For instance, he delivers a slight pause with the "gee" of "What's New" to communicate a sense of wistfulness. Or he lengthens the tones at the end of a phrase to extend its final thought.

Williams' conversational style throughout this long-out-of-circulation, breakthrough CD gives evidence of his concentration upon the meaning of the tunes and how they affect the listener.

Reportedly, Nat Cole said that A Man Ain't Supposed To Cry was the best record he ever heard. With over 40 years of recorded singing accumulating since Williams' album was produced, that claim may be harder to make now because of all of the singers who have come and gone since then. But A Man Ain't Supposed To Cry certainly is one of the most important records by one of the greatest male jazz singers. It's essential to the collection of any Joe Williams enthusiast.

Track Listing: What's New?, It's The Talk Of The Town, I'll Never Smile Again, I'm Through With Love, Where Are You?, I've Only Myself To Blame, Say It Isn't So, What Will I Tell My Heart?, You've Got Me Crying Again, Can't We Talk It Over?, I Laugh To Keep From Cryin', A Man Ain't Supposed To Cry

Personnel: Joe Williams, vocal; Jimmy Mundy Orchestra

Title: A Man Ain't Supposed To Cry | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Label M


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24 CD/LP/Track Review The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Aleka CD/LP/Track Review Aleka
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Alto Gusto CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Flow CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Unification" CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Mandala" CD/LP/Track Review Mandala
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Evergreen (Canceled World)" CD/LP/Track Review Evergreen (Canceled World)
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Welcome to Swingsville!" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "The Things We Did Last Summer" CD/LP/Track Review The Things We Did Last Summer
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'" CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 25, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor