Ben Webster: Soulville (2003)
From the very first note of this 1957 classic, you know that you’re listening to Websterhe possesses a style consisting of sweeping phrases that end with a fluttering vibrato, sometimes using nothing but airand no tune is ever taken faster than a loping gait. Befitting the title, the first two tunes are blues played with a lot of grease and vinegar, but once we get to the ballads, like “Ill Wind,” Webster creates a mood of beautiful smoky melancholy using only a handful of notes.
The Oscar Peterson Trio provides restrained backing (Herb Ellis getting more space than usual) with Stan Levey added to provide some light stickwork for gentle swing. Of marginal interest are the bonus tracks, which feature Webster at the piano; they’re decent enough boogie woogie, but don’t really fit in with the rest of the set. Soulville is a classic recording from one of jazz’s greatest artists, a romantic and sentimental masterpiece.
Track Listing: 1. Soulville 2. Late Date 3. Time On My Hands 4. Lover, Come Back To Me 5. Where Are You? 6. Makin
Personnel: Ben Webster-tenor sax, piano on #8-10; Oscar Peterson-piano; Ray Brown-bass; Herb Ellis-guitar; Stan Levey-drums.
Record Label: Verve Music Group