Millennium Collection CD (2004)

Artist: Roger Willams

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Smooth, easy and dramatic piano

by on 3/20/2004

Anyone who's spent time combing thrift-store record bins will recognize Roger Williams' name, if not his music. Williams made his mark on the charts as an easy listening pianist with a string of instrumental hits that spanned the rock 'n' roll years of the late 50s and early 60s. His best-known release, "Autumn Leaves," leads off this 12-track collection with atmospheric piano arpeggios that echo the flutter of falling foliage. ¶ Williams second hit, "Almost Paradise," was borrowed from the pen of Buddy Holly producer Norman Petty, and sets dramatic chording against a backing chorus and full orchestration. Williams also worked some of the same songbooks as exotica musicians like Martin Denny, but with a more lush sound. His arrangement of "Yellow Bird" is playful, with strings and bongos supporting Williams' piano runs, but doesn't capture the island breeze of Arthur Lyman's then-contemporary hit. ¶ Like others in the piano instrumental trade (notably, Ferrante & Teicher), Williams also had success with stage and movie themes. His renditions of the title theme to "Born Free," West Side Story's "Maria," Dr. Zhivago's "Lara's Theme," and Man of La Mancha's "The Impossible Dream" kept his name on the pop and adult contemporary charts throughout the. Williams continued to produce vital movie music into the 1980s, as evidenced by his soundtrack performance of John Barry's title song to "Somewhere in Time." ¶ Late-90s c*cktail culture made lounge stars of Martin Denny, Les Baxter, and others, while Roger Williams seems to have been mostly overlooked. Geffen's collection provides a concise introduction to his playing that combines jazz, classical and pop sounds into a sometimes showy, but quite appealing blend.

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Product Overview


Label Universal Music Group
SKU 60628192
UPC 602498616185
UPC 14 00602498616185
Format CD
Release Date 3/9/2004
Author Roger Willams
Associated Artist/Work J.D. Williams
Associated Artist/Work James Mosley
Associated Artist/Work Original Soundtrack
Technical Info
CatalogID 0001893
Lable Name Geffen
Released 03/09/2004
Original Release 2004
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Studio
Album Notes and Credits
Personnel includes: Roger Williams (piano).
Producers: Hy Grill, Michael Lloyd.
Compilation producer: Roger Williams.
Recorded between 1955 & 1972. Includes liner notes by Scott Schinder.
This is part of "20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection" series.
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Roger Williams features a decent overview of the pianist's easy listening instrumental tunes recorded in the '50s and '60s. The 12 tracks include his first number one hit, "Autumn Leaves," and the Top Ten hits "Near You" and "Born Free." Both the collector and casual listener will be pleased with the choice of material and remastered sound. ~ Al Campbell
Disc 1
1 Autumn Leaves
2 Almost Paradise
3 Till
4 Near You
5 Yellow Bird
6 Maria
7 Softly As I Leave You
8 Cumana
9 Lara's Theme - (from "Dr. Zhivago")
10 Born Free
11 Impossible Dream, The
12 Somewhere In Time
Product Attributes
Artist Willams,Roger
Label Universal Music Group
Music Format Compact Disc

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Smooth, easy and dramatic piano by on Mar 20, 2004