Transcript of interview with Johnny Pate and Jillean Williams by Claytee D. White, March 4, 2004

Metadata

Digital ID
ohr000148
Title
Transcript of interview with Johnny Pate and Jillean Williams by Claytee D. White, March 4, 2004
Narrator
Material Set
Interviewer
White, Claytee D.
Description
Interview with Johnny Pate and Jillean Williams conducted by Claytee D. White on March 4, 2004. As a jazz pianist and composer, Pate was a close friend to legendary singer Joe Williams. Pate and Williams share fond memories of touring with Joe Williams and the Count Basie Orchestra, cruises on the Norwegian line, and playing at the Dunes. Williams recalls moving to Las Vegas with Joe in 1968 and their first home on the Las Vegas Country Club golf course, where they were visited by the likes of Joe Lewis, Perry Como, and Andy Williams. Pate also details his long career, which began with teaching himself piano, tuba, and bass fiddle in the Army, and progressed to arranging and composing, which led over time to record company deals and film scores. Teaching at UNLV, Pate continues the yearly benefit concert to raise money for the Joe Williams scholarship fund.
Abstract
Johnny Pate and Jillean Williams share many fond memories of touring with Joe Williams and the Count Basie Orchestra, cruises on the Norwegian line, and playing at the Dunes in Las Vegas. Jillean recalls that Joe started singing in clubs at a very young age, eventually working the Club DeLisa in Chicago, where Johnny met up with him in the late forties. Johnny and Joe spent many after-show hours on the bandstand, Johnny playing the piano and Joe crooning ballads. Johnny and Jillean both remember Joe as a sweet- tempered gentle person who was cordial with everyone. They also remember that Joe lived to sing, once remarking that "Nothing hurts when you sing". Joe Williams worked with many great names in the music industry, including Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Pete Barbutti, and Jimmy Jones. Jillean met and married Joe through her love of music and stayed with him almost forty years. She mentions that his early musical training came through the church, and that he made between thirty and fifty albums in his lifetime. He recorded with Verve records, and today many of his recordings are digitally mastered with other recording stars who came after him or who had never sung with him. Jillean and Joe moved to Las Vegas in 1968. Jillean recalls their first home on the Las Vegas Country Club golf course. Many "greats" used to stop by to see them, people like Joe Lewis, Perry Como, and Andy Williams. She describes his work at the MGM and the Golden Nugget, and remembers that he always was available to do a benefit. Johnny Pate recalls that Joe kept him writing music for years, with gigs at Epcot Center, recordings in London, doing spots for Turner Classic Movies, and recording with various symphonies. Johnny also details his long career, which began with teaching himself piano, tuba, and bass fiddle in the Army. He did a lot of arranging and composing, which led over time to record company deals and movie scores. Today Johnny teaches at UNLV and continues the yearly benefit concert to raise money for the Joe Williams scholarship fund.
Identified Individuals
Identified Corporate Bodies
Neighborhood City / Town
Source
CT247 .P37 2007
Original Collection
Original Date (interview)
2004-03-04
Subject (FAST)
DC Type
Genre (TGM)
Specific Genre (LCSH)
Language
Rights
This material may be protected by copyright. Personal, including educational and academic, use of this material is without restriction; but acknowledgement of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries is requested whether the use is oral, web or in print. Commercial use of any portion of this material requires permission. For further information please contact Digital Collections: http://digital.library.unlv.edu/contact. This document is an oral history. It is a spoken account of certain events and phenomena recorded at one particular moment and filtered through one individual's life experience, sensibility, and memory. As such, it should be considered a primary source rather than a final, verified, or complete narrative of the events it records.
Digital Publisher
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Digital Collection
Master Extent
2427 x 3198 pixels; 8.1 x 10.7 inches; 23,593,806 bytes; 47 images
Master File Format
Master File Quality
24 bit color; 300 ppi

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