Sunday 24th April 2016
£13.50 - £16.50
“Michael Bublé isn’t the only person keeping the Sinatra Flame alive” so said the London Times of Gary Williams, star of the West End’s “Rat Pack” and soloist with leading big bands and concert orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Melbourne Symphony, the BBC Big Band, Ireland’s RTE and the Lahti Sinfonia Finland.
Other work includes performing for The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace, ‘That’s Entertainment’ a tribute to the MGM musicals with the John Wilson Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, performing at Sinatra’s Palm Springs home for the LA Jazz Institute, Radio 2 with the BBC Concert Orchestra, ‘Winter Wonderland’ at the Royal Albert Hall, ‘A Swingin’ Session’ with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra in Los Angeles, ‘Big Band Wonderland’ at Ronnie Scott’s, ‘The Legend of Sinatra’ (UK tour), a tribute to the music of Fred Astaire presented by his daughter Ava, BBC Pebble Mill, Gloria Hunniford’s ‘Open House’ (with Donny Osmond and Burt Bacharach), the soundtrack for the Warner Bros’ motion picture ‘Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution’ and BBC1’s ‘Doctor Who Christmas Special’.
As a headline act on the world’s luxury cruise liners he has visited over 60 countries. His latest two albums, a tribute to Sinatra and a “best of” his Abbey Road recordings, were recently released, prompting Oscar winning lyricist Don Black to say “In a world of Pop Idol mediocrity Gary Williams shines like a dazzling beacon.”
Gary Williams Full Biography
“Michael Bublé isn’t the only person keeping the Sinatra Flame alive” so said the London Times of Gary Williams, star of the West End’s “Rat Pack” and soloist with leading big bands and concert orchestras throughout the world, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Melbourne Symphony, the BBC Big Band, the Ulster Orchestra and the Lahti Sinfonia of Finland.
Born in Grimsby, England in 1970, Gary found his voice in community theatre and social clubs before getting his first break with the BBC Big Band. The concert was broadcast on regional radio and caught the attention of BBC bosses who immediately invited Gary to perform in a series of concerts with the band for Radio 2’s Big Band Special and on national television paying tribute to Vic Damone. It was there he met broadcaster David Jacobs who suggested they tour the UK together with a new show ‘The Legend of Sinatra’ which ran for 12 months.
After guest appearances with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra Gary was introduced to conductor and arranger John Wilson whose dedication to recreating the original sound of the great orchestras led to numerous concerts including tributes to Frank Sinatra and Nat ‘King’ Cole. Gary has since worked with John as a soloist with many orchestras including the Hallé, Northern Sinfonia, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Scottish National, Adelaide Symphony, Icelandic Sinfonia, and the Northern Sinfonia.
Gary has been a regular guest of the BBC Concert Orchestra for ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’ and had the honour of performing for The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace. In 2010 he was invited by the LA Jazz Institute to perform at Frank Sinatra’s famous Palm Springs home. He starred in the 50th anniversary concert of ‘Songs for Swingin’ Lovers’ with Ireland’s RTE Orchestra presented by Nelson Riddle’s daughter Rosemary, and subsequently ‘Putting on My Top Hat’ with Fred Astaire’s daughter, Ava.
In 2004 Gary enjoyed his West End debut, recreating the role of Frank Sinatra for 150 performances of ‘The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas’ at The Theatre Royal Haymarket, The Strand and the subsequent 2005 European tour to Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands. In 2006 his cabaret show ‘An Evening with Gary Williams’ sold out at London’s ‘Pizza on the Park’ as did ‘A Swingin’ Christmas’ at the world famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. In 2007 Gary opened the ‘White Christmas’ orchestral tour with two sell-out concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.
Other work includes a concert The Legend of Sinatra (UK tour), the Nelson Riddle Orchestra in Los Angeles, BBC Pebble Mill, ‘That’s Entertainment’ a tribute to the MGM musicals with the John Wilson Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, Gloria Hunniford’s ‘Open House’ (with Donny Osmond and Burt Bacharach), and the soundtrack for the Warner Bros’ motion picture ‘Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution’. Gary performed two new songs for ‘Doctor Who – A Celebration’ from Cardiff’s Millennium Centre complete with Daleks, Cybermen, and the Welsh National Concert Orchestra (broadcast on BBC’s Christmas day special and available on BBC DVD). He has appeared on Radio 2’s ‘Jazz Notes’, Radio 4’s ‘Loose Ends’ and has contributed to their consumer programme ’You and Yours’.
Internationally Gary has presented concerts in Florence, Portugal, Finland, Iceland, Oslo and Jordan (for the British Council).
A regular headliner for the world’s largest cruise lines Gary has visited over 60 countries including such varied places as Alaska, Brazil (for two seasons with his Latin show), the Falkland Islands, Hawaii, China and Libya – leading BBC Radio 4’s travel show ‘Excess Baggage‘ to include him as a guest on their ‘Ocean Cruise’ special. As a presenter has recorded corporate films for McCain, the Health Protection Authority, Seafish and Jessops Cameras.
He has entertained numerous private and corporate audiences at The Ritz, The Savoy, The Dorchester, The Ivy, Mossiman’s, The Pigalle, The Houses of Parliament, Alexandra Palace and Spencer House. For two years he performed with his musicians at the Royal Garden Hotel’s ‘Manhattan Nights’.
In 2002 Gary received the Outstanding Support Award from children’s charity When You Wish Upon A Star and was recently given the RNLI’s Bronze Award. In 2008 he was invited to Downing Street in recognition of his work for the Caron Keating Foundation.
He’s recorded for the Reader’s Digest ‘Timeless Classics’ series, with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia for ‘What A Carry On’, and with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra. Of his nine solo albums, his latest two, a tribute to Sinatra and a “best of” his Abbey Road recordings, were recently released, prompting Oscar winning lyricist Don Black to say “In a world of Pop Idol mediocrity Gary Williams shines like a dazzling beacon.”
“old school charm and Sinatra-esque charisma”
Jane Cornwell, London Evening Standard 18th December 2014.
“Their treatment of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now — inspired by the poignant Christmas scene in the film Love Actually — was as intense as any I have heard in a long time. / Williams’s attention to detail is all that you would expect from the author of Cabaret Secrets, a fascinating insider’s handbook on how to nurture an audience for the kind of classic songbook fare that struggles to make itself heard in a world obsessed with The X Factor.” Clive Davis, The Times
“What a party he creates” / “Williams brings his own easy style to familiar numbers, tweaking them a little and often raising them to a new dimension. His ‘Both Sides Now’ is delivered with such emotional tension that one almost feels an intruder on an intimate moment. / His sensitive treatment of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ brought tears to the eyes of more than one member of the audience as thoughts turned to lost friends and loved ones. / Anyone exhausted and stressed by Christmas shopping should see this show providing as it does, the perfect antidote.” Barrie Jarman, Musical Theatre Review
“Williams develops a splendid rapport with the audience, and his affectionate sense of humour, pitch-perfect vocal delivery, a mellow tone and sense of phrasing puts him with the best.” Tom Vallance, Classical Source.
"Gary was terrific. Lovely voice, yes, but a wonderful sense of humour too and he made everyone in the room feel special... It's a brilliant example of how cabaret should be done." Debra Craine from The Times
“One of the most distinguished cabaret artistes this country has produced” Hugh Wooldridge.
“You make me feel drunk with smiles and happiness” Gaby Roslin BBC Radio London
“his forte is mezzoforte: letting the great songs speak, and they do speak, for themselves.” BBC Radio 2's Russell Davis.
“An evening of old school virtuosity” Time Out London
"On Oasis of the Seas, guest expectations are high. We need the best of the best. That's why Gary Williams was always on our wish list" Michelle Arrazola, Royal Caribbean International
"…the UK's leading standard bearer for the supercool era." London Evening Standard
“Williams obviously has what it takes to be a cabaret artist – one of the most difficult occupations for a singer.: Musical Theatre Review
“I can count the number of great contemporary singers of pop standards on one hand. Gary Williams is indeed part of the pantheon.” Michael Feinstein
“Impeccably sung by Gary Williams, who, in the best tradition of those BBC radio broadcasts, happily allowed the songs to shine.” Bill Stephens, Cabaret Hotline, June 2007, Adelaide Festival
“A fantastic album! So alive and polished. A beautiful rendition of each of these classics. His voice is beautiful.” Jeannie Deva, LA vocal coach on The Best of Abbey Road
“I especially like Gary Williams because he sings standard without thinking he has to twist the melody or find a rock style rhythm. He is following in the Sinatra style without imitating him. The piano behind and soloing in I'm Glad There Is You was well-nigh perfect.” Syd Atkinson, MFR Radio
“Sprinkled between songs were shared moments of intimacy, confessions and plenty of laughs, all helping to create a sense of something special. Till, My Kind of Town and Sweet Caroline not only raised the temperature for a rip-roaring climax but also exposed the sheer power and range of his voice. Gary’s polished performances ensure that, unlike the prophet, he will always be welcome in his hometown.” Grimsby Evening Telegraph
“Gary Williams is one of the most experienced Sinatra acolytes, even bearing a striking physical resemblance to the great man.” Clive Davis for the London Times
“There is little doubt that if Gary Williams had been around in the middle part of the last century he would have been rated alongside Matt Monro as the outstanding British singer of good music.” Nelson's Notes review, March 2001
“Gary Williams is always worth hearing and in the company of John Wilson and the best of musicians he excelled himself in the finest of the Gershwins”. Clive Fuller, In Tune Magazine
“There isn’t an uncertain or tremulous choice here with Williams attacking each number with clarity and the confidence expected of such a seasoned performer”. Paul Vale, The Stage
“The song My Way now tends to generate a certain resistance – overdone – but Gary Williams’s treatment of his final number was exceptional”. Gerry Colgan. National Concert Hall, Dublin
“What Gary has in common with great singers like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Harry Connick Jr is the ability to take a song, put his personal mark on it and make it his own, the ability of a true song stylist.” Michael Darvell for London What's On
“I am going to join in the praise - Gary Williams is young, good looking and his voice is a dream. He is quite rightly being hailed as one of Britain's rising stars.” BBC Radio 2's Desmond Carrington
“Michael Bublé is the not only singer keeping the Sinatra flame alive.” Clive Davies for The Sunday Times
“And not only is he a brilliant singer; he also puts the audience at ease. A lot of artists are not good at being themselves when not singing – Gary is as relaxed chatting as he is singing, and he’s funny too. Don’t miss him.” Michael Darvell, London What’s On
“There is no attempt to imitate the talents of the “greats” because this is a stand-alone performance by a singer at the height of his powers as far as the romantic ballads are concerned.” Perfectly Frank Magazine Review of ‘Alone Together’
Ol’ Blue Eyes opens up with the night with pitch perfect renditions of songs including I’ve Got You Under My Skin and The Lady Is A Tramp. It is amazing to see the essence of Sinatra live once again. When he is joined on stage by Sell and Cornelious, the show and the effect is jaw-dropping. Yorkshire Post – Review of ‘The Rat Pack’
“Gary Williams performed so many great songs that it would be difficult to pick out the best but his version of All The Way was particularly outstanding.” Stan Woolley – Daily Post Review of Liverpool Philharmonic Concert
“I always think that if the audience will not let a performer leave the stage after an encore then this is proof that he has entertained them exceptionally. That is what happened last night at Symphony Hall when vocalist Gary Williams treated us to 2 hours of brilliant singing.” Clive Fuller – Review of Birmingham Symphony Hall concert
“The vocalist, stepping into Sinatra’s shoes for the evening, was Gary Williams. He made no attempt at impersonation but followed Frank’s vocal line with perfection and phrasing; even Ol’ Blue Eyes would have been pleased with him!” Journal Into Melody Review of Hallé Orchestra Concert
“Gary is a fabulous singer and entertainer, and if anything I'd say 'turn him up' he deserves to be louder!” Anthony Davis – the Jazz
“Every song he sang was word and note perfect and confirmed the belief of many in his audience, now surely his “fans”, that he is the best young singer of the Sinatra era of melodies in the country, if not the world... his presentation of all of these well-loved classics was performed with a panache which would have pleased ‘The Guv’nor’ himself.” Perfectly Frank Magazine
“His immaculate delivery, phrasing and interpretation of each song was in keeping with the great song stylist. But this stunning vocalist had far more to offer than a pale imitation of a bygone star. This wasn't an impersonation of Sinatra, but Gary Williams being Gary Williams - a thoroughly charming, likeable, charismatic individual with a dazzling smile and personality.” Bournemouth Echo
“Gary sang this flawlessly and every single word could be heard perfectly. Even the members of the CBSO were applauding after the 2 encores. The publicity for the show used the song title “Unforgettable” and that is how I shall think of the evening.” Clive Fuller – Encore Magazine
“The more I play this album the more I appreciate it, Gary Williams' singing has a quality which makes you feel relaxed and some of John Wilson's arrangements are nothing short of brilliant.”
Jazz Views Review of ‘Alone Together’
“I’ll stick my neck out and say I think this is the finest vocal record of its kind to emerge from Britain since the days of Matt Monro.” Radio 2’s Malcolm Laycock – Review of ‘Alone Together’
“Gary Williams should now be well known to every music lover in the country for it is his interpretation and ability to sing ballads and up-tempo songs combined with faultless orchestrations and playing that creates this magic. Overall, this is a must for anyone interested in the art of vocal expression.” Encore Magazine - Review of ‘Alone Together’
“Gary has a charm that captivates his audience. His style of singing is impeccable. He is not a Sinatra impersonator, but a singer who knows how to produce a song his way. The audience were treated to some favourite Sinatra songs that Gary make his own.” Swindon Advertiser
“Gary shined as the star of the show, as he cruised through the show with a style which is now a familiar trait of the swing singer. Between breathtaking performances he won the hearts and tickled the humour of his audience ... throughout the two and a half hour performance.” Grimsby Evening Telegraph
“WIlliams is confident, self-assured and exhibits a natural delight at the opportunity to sing the songs he loves. While the Lloyd-Webber, Boubil & Schonberg and Rogers & Hammerstein numbers were all performed with a tremendous passion, it was when the singer moved into swing mode that his personality really ignited.” The Stage May 1999
“Gary's stage presence, his relaxed attitude, his confidence in the power of his personality, his timing, phrasing, his very professional manner and above all his voice control combined to inspire a very attentive audience into an almost 100% standing ovation.” Sinatra Music Society
“Gary Williams stepped out of the line impressively. He sang 'This Guy's in Love with You' and 'Wives and Lovers' in what proved to be one of the highlights.” The Stage Review of Magic of Bacharach
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