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Near You

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This is the follow-up to Roger Williams' (piano) Top Five long-player, Till (1957). The title track, "Near You," charted as a Top Ten single, re-establishing the artist's commercial acclaim. This is, in and of itself, a feat, as very few easy listening piano-prominent songs were achieving similar results during the 'golden age' of rock & roll. However, Williams was a familiar figure, having proven himself as a commercial and critically acclaimed musician whose voluminous recorded legacy had already grown to well over a dozen full-length albums. The pianist was a child prodigy and his skills not only included his emotive and affective abilities as a performer, but also as a unique and equally gifted arranger. Near You (1958) is in many ways exemplary of his Kapp Records catalog. Here, Williams leads the Hal Kanner Orchestra and Chorus through an adept choice of easy listening pop standards, as well as adaptations and modernizations of classical melodies. "Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #1" for example — also known by the name "Tonight We Love" — is given worthy consideration without crossing the line into pretension or unnecessary verbosity. This approach carries over to the lighter fare as Williams' expressive execution on "Deep Purple" turns the ballad into a minor work of art, as his flourishes augment the tune without ever losing its lustrous and inherent beauty. This directly contrasts the upbeat and jazzy "St. Louis Blues," which contains a recurring walking-piano riff that would have made W.C. Handy, the author, either ecstatic or jealous. Williams retains the intimate charm of "Catch a Falling Star," revealing a slightly Spanish feel that is comparatively lacking from the hit version by Perry Como. In 2004, Collectors' Choice Music issued Near You on CD, pairing it with its predecessor, Till (1957). This seminal entry is an ideal springboard and touchstone for any and all listeners interested in Roger Williams. It is also one of the first titles to have made it into the digital domain, which is a welcome addition for contemporary listeners to experience Williams at his undeniable peak.


Né(e) : 1 octobre 1924 à Omaha, NE

Genre : Pop

Années d’activité : '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Pianist Roger Williams' sweeping, sparkling arpeggios, showy technique, and gentle easy listening arrangements made him one of the most popular pop instrumentalists of the late '50s and '60s. Like many other easy listening musicians, he blurred the boundaries between pop, jazz, and classical, creating a smooth, relaxing hybrid. Between 1955 and 1972, he had 38 hit albums and 22 hit singles, including the number one hit "Autumn Leaves." Williams (born Louis Weertz) began playing piano as a child,...
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Classement albums et morceaux de : Roger Williams

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Near You, Roger Williams
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