Joe Williams (jazz singer)
|Birth name||Joseph Goreed|
December 12, 1918|
Cordele, Georgia, U.S.
|Died||March 29, 1999
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, blues, swing, traditional pop|
|Labels||RCA Victor, Verve|
|Associated acts||Lionel Hampton, Count Basie|
Joe Williams (born Joseph Goreed; December 12, 1918 – March 29, 1999) was an American jazz singer.
Williams was born in Cordele, Georgia, the son of Willie Goreed and Anne Beatrice née Gilbert. When he was about three, his mother and grandmother took him to Chicago. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago, where he attended Austin Otis Sexton Elementary School and Englewood High School. In the 1930s, as a teenager, he was a member of a gospel group, the Jubilee Boys, and performed in Chicago churches.
He worked as a singer and bouncer in Chicago in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He began singing professionally as a soloist in 1937. He sometimes sang with big bands: from 1937 he performed with Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra, and also toured with Les Hite in the Midwest. In 1941 he toured with Coleman Hawkins to Memphis, Tennessee. In 1943 he performed in Boston with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. He toured with Hampton for several years but never achieved breakthrough success. He sang with Red Saunders at the Club DeLisa in Chicago in 1945, and in 1946 was in New York with Andy Kirk.
From 1954 to 1961 he was the singer for the Count Basie Orchestra. He rose to national prominence with Basie, who nicknamed him "The Number One Son". "Every Day I Have the Blues", recorded in 1955, was one of his many hit recordings.
After leaving the Basie band, Williams had a successful career as a soloist at festivals, in clubs and on television. He and Basie remained on good terms and he regularly appeared with the Basie orchestra. He toured and made recordings with many other musicians, including Harry "Sweets" Edison in 1961–62, Junior Mance between 1962 and 1964, George Shearing in 1971, and Cannonball Adderley between 1973 and 1975. He went on a long tour from Egypt to India with Clark Terry in 1977, and toured Europe and the United States with Thad Jones and the Basie Orchestra in 1985. He also worked with his own combos, which between 1970 and 1990 usually included the pianist Norman Simmons, and often had Henry Johnson on guitar.
Williams sang with the Basie orchestra in two films, Jamboree in 1957 and Cinderfella in 1960. He sometimes worked as an actor, and in 1985 took the rôle of "Grandpa Al" Hanks in Bill Cosby's popular Cosby Show. Williams appeared several times on Sesame Street in the 1980s and early 1990s.
In later life Williams often worked in hotels and clubs in Las Vegas, but also sang at festivals and worked on cruise ships. He toured again with the Basie Orchestra, this time under the direction of Frank Foster, who had succeeded Thad Jones as leader of the band. Williams sang with the former Ellington Orchestra drummer Louie Bellson in Duke Ellington's jazz suite Black, Brown and Beige; in about 1993 or 1994 he again toured with George Shearing.
Williams worked regularly until his death in Las Vegas on March 29, 1999, at the age of 80.
Awards, recognitions and legacy
His 1955 recording of "Every Day I Have the Blues" with Basie was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame for recordings of particular historical or qualitative importance in 1992. Williams was added to the Jazz Wall of Fame of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 2001.
|Joe Williams Grammy Award History|
|1989||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||In Good Company||Jazz||Nominee|
|1989||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||"Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby"||Jazz||Nominee||with Marlena Shaw|
|1988||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||"I Won't Leave You Again"||Jazz||Nominee||with Lena Horne|
|1987||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||Every Night: Live At Vine St.||Jazz||Nominee|
|1986||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||I Just Want To Sing||Jazz||Nominee|
|1984||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||Nothin' but the Blues||Jazz||Winner|
|1982||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||"8 to 5 I Lose"||Jazz||Nominee||from Burt Reynold's 'Sharky's Machine'|
|1979||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||Prez & Joe||Jazz||Nominee|
The Blues Foundation Awards
|Joe Williams: Blues Music Awards|
|1985||Traditional Blues Album||Nothin' but the Blues||Winner|
|2001||ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame||Inducted|
|1995||Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame||Inducted|
|1993||NEA Jazz Masters||Winner|
|1993||Ebony Lifetime Achievement Award||Winner|
|1983||Hollywood Walk of Fame||Honored||at 6508 Hollywood Blvd.
next to Count Basie
Top Jazz Albums
|1995||Feel The Spirit||Telarc|
|1994||Milt Jackson: The Prophet Speaks (includes "Five O'Clock In The Morning Blues" with Joe Williams)||Qwest/WB|
|1994||Here's To Life (with Robert Farnon Orchestra)||Telarc|
|1993||Live At Orchestra Hall, Detroit (with the Count Basie Orchestra, directed by Frank Foster)||Telarc|
|1992||Ballad And Blues Master (more material recorded live at "Vine St." in 1987)||Verve||#7|
|1990||That Holiday Feelin'||Verve|
|1989||In Good Company (includes "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" with Marlena Shaw)||Verve||#5|
|1988||Lena Horne: The Men In My Life (includes "I Won't Leave You Again" with Joe Williams)||Three Cherries|
|1987||Every Night: Live At Vine St. (with the Norman Simmons Quartet)||Verve|
|1985||I Just Want To Sing (Joe Williams & Friends, June 1985)||Delos|
|1984||Then And Now (with the Mike Melvoin Trio + Pete Christlieb)||Bosco/Sea Breeze|
|1983||Nothin' but the Blues (with Red Holloway & His Blues All-Stars)||Delos|
|1981||The Soundtrack Music From Burt Reynold's 'Sharky's Machine' (includes "8 To 5 I Lose")||Atlantic|
|1979||Prez & Joe: In Celebration Of Lester Young (with Dave Pell's Prez Conference)||GNP Crescendo|
|1978||Live At The Century Plaza (with the Capp/Pierce Juggernaut Band)||Concord|
|1973||Joe Williams Live (with the Cannonball Adderley Sextet)||Fantasy|
|1971||Live In Vegas (with the Count Basie Orchestra)||Monad [rel. 1995]|
|1971||The Heart and Soul of Joe Williams and George Shearing (with George Shearing)||Sheba/Koch|
|1970||Worth Waiting For...||Blue Note|
|1968||Something Old, New And Blue (with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra)||Solid State|
|1967||Presenting Joe Williams and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra||Solid State/Blue Note|
|1966||The Exciting Joe Williams||RCA Victor|
|1965||The Song Is You||RCA Victor|
|1964||Me And The Blues||RCA Victor|
|1963||Joe Williams At Newport '63||RCA Victor|
|1963||Jump For Joy||RCA Victor|
|1964||Havin' A Good Time! Featuring Ben Webster||Hyena [rel. 2005]|
|1964||A New Kind Of Love||Roulette|
|1963||One Is A Lonesome Number||Roulette|
|1963||Back To Basie & The Blues (with Count Basie and His Orchestra) compilation||Roulette|
|1962||Joe Williams Live! A Swingin' Night At Birdland||Roulette|
|1961||Have A Good Time With Joe Williams||Roulette|
|1961||Together (with Harry "Sweets" Edison)||Roulette|
|1961||Sentimental & Melancholy||Roulette|
|1960||Just The Blues (with Count Basie)||Roulette|
|1960||Joe Williams With Songs About 'That Kind Of Woman'||Roulette|
|1959||Everyday I Have the Blues (with Count Basie and His Orchestra)||Roulette|
|1959||Joe Williams Sings About You!||Roulette|
|1959||Breakfast Dance and Barbecue [live] (with Count Basie and His Orchestra)||Roulette|
|1959||Memories Ad-Lib (with Count Basie)||Roulette|
|1959||Sing Along with Basie (with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and the Basie Band)||Roulette|
|1958||A Man Ain't Supposed To Cry||Roulette|
|1957||Count Basie at Newport [live] (with Count Basie and His Orchestra)||Verve|
|1957||One O'Clock Jump (with Count Basie and Ella Fitgerald)||Verve|
|1956||Basie in London [live] (with Count Basie and His Orchestra)||Verve|
|1956||Metronome All-Stars 1956 (with Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald)||Clef/Verve|
|1956||The Greatest!! Count Basie Plays, Joe Williams Sings Standards (with Count Basie)||Verve|
|1955||Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings (with Count Basie)||Clef/Verve|
|1955||A Night at Count Basie's (the band: Emmett Berry-trumpet, Vic Dickenson-trombone,
Marlowe Morris-organ, Bobby Henderson-piano, Aaron Bell-bass, Bobby Donaldson-drums)
|Joe Williams Sings Everyday (with the Red Saunders band) 6 Parrot/Blue Lake masters
from 1953, plus (with the King Kolax orchestra) 4 Chess/Checker masters from 1952.
|10" shellac (78rpm) singles: Columbia 30218, OKeh 6801, OKeh 6834, OKeh 6914,
OKeh 6953, OKeh 7061 (with Red Saunders & His Orchestra)
|1946||10" shellac (78rpm) single: Decca 23959 (with the Andy Kirk orchestra)||Decca|
- 1992 Joe Williams with George Shearing: A Song Is Born (View Video)
- 1991 Jazz At The Smithsonian (Kultur Video)
- James Ross Moore (2002). Williams, Joe. American National Biography online edition. Accessed April 2015. (subscription required).
- Pareles, Jon (March 31, 1999). "Joe Williams, Jazz Singer of Soulful Tone and Timing, Is Dead at 80". The New York Times.
- Bob Weir, Barry Kernfeld. Williams, Joe. In: Barry Kernfeld (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, second edition. Grove Music Online/ Oxford Music Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Accessed April 2015. (subscription required).
- "Joe Williams Every Day Foundation". Retrieved January 3, 2017.
- Gelb, Hank (October 5, 1997). "Joyful Noise". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Larkin, Colin (1995). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Guinness. p. 4494. ISBN 1-56159-176-9.
- Elwood, Philip (March 30, 1999). "Beautiful voice, elegant man". The San Francisco Examiner.
- Grammy Hall Of Fame. Santa Monica, CA: The Recording Academy. Accessed April 2015.
- "2001 Inductees". ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
- The Blues Foundation Database
- Joe Williams at AllMusic
- R. J. Gleason (1956). Every Day is a Good Day for Joe Williams. Down Beat 23 (11): 11
- R. Horricks (1956). Joe Williams. Jazz Monthly 2 (7): 7
- L. Tomkins (1963). Frankly Speaking: Joe Williams. Crescendo 1 (6): 10
- B. Gardner (1964). Is Joe Williams Really Joe Williams? Down Beat 31 (32): 19
- A. J. Smith (1976). Joe Williams: the Well Tempered Blaze of Vocal Excellence. Down Beat 43 (9): 11
- Sheldon Harris (1979) Blues Who’s Who: a Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House. ISBN 9780870004254.
- Stanley Dance (1980). The World of Count Basie. New York; London: C. Scribner's Sons. ISBN 9780684166049. p. 198.
- Joe Williams (1980). You and Me. Jazz-Podium 29 (10): 12
- J. E. Siegel (1980). Talking with Joe Williams. Radio Free Jazz 21 (January): 12
- Dempsey J. Travis (1983). An Autobiography of Black Jazz. Chicago, IL: Urban Research Institute. ISBN 9780941484039 p. 467.
- Leslie Gourse (1985). Every Day: the Story of Joe Williams London; New York: Quartet Books. ISBN 9780704324664.
- Chris Sheridan (1986). Count Basie: a Bio-discography. New York: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313249358.
- D. Morgenstern (1987). Joe Williams: the Boy Singer. Jazz Times (October): 36
- Whitney Balliett (1988). American Singers: Twenty-seven Portraits in Song. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195065732. p. 72.
- [s.n.] (1988). Joe Williams. Jazz-Podium. 37 (7): 3
- E. Calloway (April 28, 1990). Defender Newsboy Joe Williams Grew up to be a Great Vocalist. Chicago Defender p. 33.
- R. Mitchell (February 16, 1994). Joe Williams Saves a Few of his High Notes. Houston Chronicle.
- D. Zych (1994). Joe Williams: Celebrating Ev-e-ry-Day. Jazz Times 24' (2): 43
- H. Gelb (October 5, 1997). Blues Singer Joe Williams Has Seen Hard Times, but Takes Solace from his Saviour: Joyful Noise. San Francisco Examiner Magazine. p. 10.
- D. Heckman (March 31, 1999). [obituary]. Los Angeles Times
- B. Crowther (1999). [obituary]. Jazz Journal International 52 (5): 18
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