162

Joe Williams featuring Ben Webster: Havin' A Good Time

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Williams featuring Ben Webster: Havin' A Good Time Havin' A Good Time documents a concert that never should have happened. In the winter of 1964 Providence was socked with a blizzard that kept eager concertgoers away from the club where Joe Williams was playing. Enough people showed up that he still had to perform a few sets, but the lucky few who were there were given a rare treat; improbably, Ben Webster showed up out of nowhere and asked if he could sit in.

This is the sort of magical encounter on which jazz thrives: no preparation, no rehearsal, just a couple of masters joining together to produce some wonderful music on the spot. According to pianist Junior Mance, this was the only meeting between Webster and Williams, and fortunately it was caught on tape. All of these songs are either well-known or based on fairly simple chord progressions, which allows the band to plug into the numbers without much difficulty.

If Webster hadn't appeared, the set would still have been worth a listen; Williams always did his best work in front of an audience, and the fact that the small crowd had braved the storm to see him no doubt only added to his enthusiastic delivery. Blues songs like "Just A Sittin' and A Rockin' were tailor-made for Williams' rich baritone and exuberant presence. But the presence of Webster adds a new dimension; he gets ample solo space, really digging in to the slower numbers that he plays so beautifully, and huffs quietly behind Williams as he sings. The rhythm section seems invigorated by the chance to play with the added firepower; Junior Mance in particular carves out a niche with some smoking accompaniment.

Havin' A Good Time is an appropriate title for this new release. Clearly the audience enjoyed the collaboration and the musicians crafted some terrific entertainment. It may have been cold and snowy outside, but it sure was hot inside.


Track Listing: 1. Just A Sittin' and A Rockin' 2. Kansas City Blues 3. By the River St. Marie 4. That's All 5. Alone Together 6. I'm Through With Love 7. The Great City 8. A Hundred Years From Today 9. Ain't Misbehavin' 10. Honeysuckle Rose 11. Alright, OK, You Win 12. Have A Good Time 13. Band Intro and Goodbye.

Personnel: Joe Williams - vocals; Ben Webster - tenor sax; Junior Mance - piano; Bob Cranshaw - bass; Mickey Roker - drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Hyena Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Christmastime in New Orleans" CD/LP/Track Review Christmastime in New Orleans
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Echoes From Rudolph's" CD/LP/Track Review Echoes From Rudolph's
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Shelter" CD/LP/Track Review Shelter
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 15, 2016
Read "Shoebox View" CD/LP/Track Review Shoebox View
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 26, 2016
Read "Petite Moutarde" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Moutarde
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!