“Joe Williams with George Shearing: A Song Is Born,”
is a 57-minute DVD of a 1991 concert which was filmed at
the Paul Masson winery, and released on the VIEW label.
Although singing since his teens, Joe Williams (1918-1999)
was one of the great Jazz/Blues singers, rising to fame during
the mid 1950’s with Count Basie’s band. He left that group
in 1961, and enjoyed a solo career until his death.
Blind since birth, George Shearing (1919-2011) was one of
the great Jazz pianists, and I was privileged to see him in
concert in San Diego, during the mid 1970’s. Joined by
Neil Swainson on bass and drummer Paul Humphrey,
Shearing and Williams collaborated wonderfully in this
concert, performing such songs as “Blues in My Heart,”
“Muddy Water” and “A Child Is Born,” before an
Although perhaps not in top vocal form, Williams still
made his mark as a singer and entertainer, using a
high falsetto as well as some rich, low notes. By properly
caring for his voice, he made it last, as long as he didn’t
demand too much from it.
Shearing was the perfect partner, playing with taste
and an uncanny sense of timing. Swainson and Humphrey
were also stellar, and the camerawork and recorded
sound were both quite good. A printed biography of
Joe Williams was also included on this disc, which was
a helpful bonus. I highly recommend this DVD.