This tenor summit took place in 1959, a very short while after the death of Lester Young. Ben Webster is joined by Coleman Hawkins and Budd Johnson, two of the remaining tenor greats of the time. Roy Eldridge is also along for the ride. The rhythm section consists of pianist Jimmy Jones, guitarist Les Spann, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Jo Jones. Except for the up-tempo numbers "De-Dar" and "Young Bean," the mood is as bluesy and laid-back as can be. A twenty-minute "In a Mellow Tone" leads off the record, and interestingly enough, Brown, Jones, and Spann all solo before the first tenor giant, Johnson, takes his turn. Webster doesn’t solo until nearly sixteen minutes in. In fact, he solos last on four of the five tracks. But when you’re Ben Webster, what’s the hurry?
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.