126

Joe Williams featuring Ben Webster: Havin' a Good Time

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Williams featuring Ben Webster: Havin' a Good Time By Ted Kane

Over the years, I've come to be a bit skeptical of the "discovered" or "lost classic" type of record release. You know, the kind where the historical significance is trumpeted and the sound quality is at a subbootleg level. Most of the time, that stuff languished in a vault for a reason all those years. Still, when I heard about Havin' a Good Time, the only known pairing of the great jazz/blues singer and Basie alum Joe Williams with Duke Ellington's legendary tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, I was willing to suspend my disbelief.

Good thing, too, because Havin' a Good Time is the real deal for once. The sound is surprisingly clean and clear; Williams' rich voice jumps right out at you, and the mix is no worse than most live recordings from the early '60s. Williams had a fine band in tow, including drummer Mickey Roker, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and a consistently inspired Junior Mance on piano, for this date recorded on a cold night in Providence 43 years ago. Webster was in town on his own gig and apparently asked if he could sit in; I can only imagine that the band spent scant seconds in deliberation.

The performance offers no profound revelations, perhaps, but a swinging good time from start to finish. Williams and Webster were each among the finest interpreters of blues and ballads on their respective instruments and it is a pleasure to hear them together. Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves on stage, and their pleasure is infectious.

Track Listing: Sittin' Rockin'; Kansas City Blues; River St. Marie; That's All; Alone Together; I'm Through; Great City; 100 Years; Ain't Misbehavin'; Honeysuckle Rose; Alright, OK; Havin' a Good Time.

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

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Hyena Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Points of View CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Migration Blues CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read N.O. Escape CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Another Day in Fucking Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Another Day in Fucking Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Shoebox View" CD/LP/Track Review Shoebox View
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 26, 2016
Read "Triadic Episode" CD/LP/Track Review Triadic Episode
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "The Reasons Don't Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Reasons Don't Change
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 15, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT 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!