Jazz musicians of any renown will eventually tour and record in Japan, but Midge Williams must be the only American artist whose recording career actually began there. She recorded in both Japanese and English in the '30s, working with local groups in China as well as Japan - all signs of the accomplished versatility that would later make her in demand with great jazz bandleaders such as Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, and Teddy Wilson. This singer was not always content to be a vocalist in someone else's band, no matter how big their names were, so she also fronted her own group known as Midge Williams & Her Jazz Jesters.
Bassist Buster Williams had one of his few opportunities to lead a record session on this diverse set which has been reissued on CD (with an alternate take of "I Dream Too Much" added to the original program). Of the six selections, Williams has a duet apiece with Kenny Barron (who plays electric piano), pianist Jimmy Rowles and vibraphonist Roy Ayers ("My Funny Valentine"). Two other numbers feature the quartet of Williams, Ayers, Barron and drummer Billy Hart while the leader's original "Prism" has the quartet joined by singer Suzanne Klewan and percussionist Nobu Urushiyama. The music ranges from slightly commercial to introspective and hard swinging, and its variety (plus an opportunity to hear bassist Williams in the lead) are two good reasons for postbop jazz collectors to pick up this CD.