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Iris Williams: I Wish You Love
Candace Leeds | October 27, 2015 | 0 Comments
I Wish You Love
Birdland, NYC, October 19, 2015
Reviewed by Candace Leeds for Cabaret Scenes
The stately Welsh singer, Iris Williams, made her Birdland debut as part of the Broadway at Birdlandseries, performing to an enthusiastic sold-out house. With her low-key charm, elegant presence, and lovely, deep-throated contralto voice, she truly inhabited each of her songs. She had the audience in the palm of her hand throughout the show. She became well known in the U.K. in the 1980s and came to the attention of Queen Elizabeth II, who awarded her an O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) for her contributions to the field of music and to charity.
Presenting a perfectly paced program of works from the Great American Songbook, Williams included a Piaf medley and one of Harold Arlen material, and songs by Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, George Gershwin, and Yip Harburg. She had great fun with the Sinatra-recorded, “Nice ‘n’ Easy” (Lew Spence/Marilyn & Alan Bergman) and made “I’m Glad There Is You” (“In This World of Ordinary People”) by Jimmy Dorsey and Paul Madeira sparkle with her beautifully nuanced low-key style. Williams’ presentation of “Autumn Leaves” (Joseph Kosma/Jacques Prevert/Johnny Mercer), to which she added a verse in Welsh, was particularly powerful and moving.
She brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience with her moving tribute to the late Julie Wilson, singing “He Was Beautiful” (Stanley Myers/Cleo Laine). Her 1979 recording of that song earned her gold and platinum discs, as well as invitations to perform for the Queen, and numerous awards and accolades.
As she made her bows following her powerful finale, a lively “Remember Me” (Nick Ashford/Valerie Simpson), everyone in the audience jumped to their feet enthusiastically applauding. She laughingly declared, “In New York, it’s great to have a sitting ovation – but a standing ovation…wow!”
Iris Williams’ last New York show was in 2013, so we can only hope that she will appear more frequently on the cabaret scene.
Critics Review Iris Williams at
VICKY’S SANTE FE CABARET SUPPER CLUB
INDIAN WELLS CALIFONIA
Radio Transcript from 1/29/15:
I want to encourage all of you to get VICKY’S OF SANTA FE on your radar and drop by to see the wonderful Cabaret and Jazz Offerings in their Cabaret Lounge.
I had the opportunity to see Welsh Cabaret Star Iris Williams last Monday evening – I told you last week it was one of my “Best Bets” in Cabaret for the week – but IRIS by far exceeded my expectations.
“Ms. Williams – who, by the way was presented with an OBE -- Order Of The British Empire --- by Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, was pitch perfect and truly one of the finest Cabaret artists I have had the pleasure of seeing – on par with the likes of Cabaret Icons Julie Wilson and Nancy LaMott, whom I treasure. She sings with tremendous passion and clarity and ease, and brings new meaning and perspective to the old standard songs we have heard time and time again making them fresh and new and exciting.”
“She is a master storyteller and captivating at every turn. Her tribute to Edith Piaf was, in a word, breathtaking.”
- D W Green, Broadway World & I HEART Radio
Critics Rave about Iris Williams’ Return
to New York Cabaret…
"Crisply elegant & regal, Iris Williams can be folksy a bit, too. She's a class
act with the voice of warm brandy which envelops the room in her low-key,
no fussiness way. She knows her way around a ballad & its cozy corners."
Rob Lester, NiteLifeExchange.com