Basie was at the beginning of a musical rebirth when Joe Williams joined the band. Williams' malleable baritone delivered the blues with deep-rooted conviction, and he sang standards with both elegance and grit all at once. It's easy to see, therefore, that his presence would only add to the already roaring swing of the Basie band. On this compact jazz recording, we hear a variety of tunes from the Basie book that feature the great Williams. Taken from several different recording sessions in the æ50's, this album stresses Willaims' ability to adapt to different musical settings.
On "Every Day (I Have the Blues)" Williams bellows using a rich, vibrato laden and powerful voice. However, on the Jerome Kern standard, "A Fine Romance," he uses a more cosmopolitan and refined timbre. We also hear him singing duets with the inimitable Ella Fitzgerald on "Too Close For Comfort" and "Party Blues." And finally, we hear him wailing on a shuffle blues, with Basie, live at the Newport Jazz festival.