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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ben Webster: In Norway

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Ben Webster refused to fly. When he visited Norway from Denmark, his adopted homeland, he went by boat and when he got there would blame his somewhat uncertain gait on his “sea legs," rather than the large amounts of alcohol he had consumed in the vessel's bar. Sometimes his “sea legs" were so bad, initial concerts had to be rescheduled. However, by 1970, when this date was recorded, Webster was 61 and slowing down just a little. ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Tenor Sax Legend: Live and Intimate

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Ben Webster Tenor Sax Legend: Live and Intimate Shanachie 2009

Although he looked like a frog or a bullmastiff (hence his nicknames Frog and The Brute), saxophonist Ben Webster was splendidly photogenic, his emotions nakedly on his face. This DVD brings together three concert performances and one documentary from his last decade in Europe. He purrs, snarls and moans with a rhythm trio, a big band, a string section, in a casual ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ben Webster: Ben Webster: The Brute & The Beautiful

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Ben Webster (1909-73), perhaps the least acknowledged of the great jazz tenor saxophonists, was fortunate enough to have a varied 40-year recording career. His ballads were immensely tender and his blues and faster tunes could be nearly violent in their intensity. Hence the title of this two-disc set, a centennial issue that celebrates this musical duality. Webster's career found him in so many contexts (accompanying Billie Holiday, early and late; an integral member of the classic 1940-41 Ellington orchestra; leading ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ben Webster: Centennial Celebration

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Remembered for his seminal solos on such classics as “Cotton Tail" and “All Too Soon" as much as for his historic clashes with boss Duke Ellington, hot-tempered saxophonist Ben Webster's legacy truly stands the test of time. The year 2009, being the centennial of the tenor titan's birth, Concord Records marks the occasion with this 9-track compilation taken from four different sessions spanning the years 1956 to 1963.Borrowed from Soulmates (Riverside, 1963)--his collaboration with Austrian piano whiz Joe ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ben Webster / Stan Tracey: Soho Nights, Vol. 1

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This month celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of jazz's titans: Ben Webster. His career spanned over 40 years, from being a journeyman in the Ellington orchestra to becoming one of that group's biggest stars and subsequently emerging as one of the most iconic figures of the tenor sax. On the heels of 2008's Dig Ben, Storyville's mammoth, eight-disc box set chronicling Webster's European years, British label Resteamed is rolling out a series of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ben Webster: Dig Ben!

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To have been young and Danish in the ‘60s! If you happened to live in Copenhagen during that period, then you had a strong chance of catching the great Ben Webster performing live in a random club, or perhaps on a radio broadcast. Webster sailed from New York to the Continent in 1964 and, after playing a club gig in London that led to subsequent European engagements, never again set foot on American soil. This set provides an ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Someone To Watch Over Me: The Life and Music of Ben Webster

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Someone To Watch Over Me: The Life and Music of Ben Webster Frank Buchmann-Moller Hardcover; 400 pages ISBN: 0472114700 University Of Michigan Press 2007

Unless you already know a tremendous amount about saxophonist Ben Webster, you'll learn so much from Frank Buchmann-Moller's new biography. Unless I'm mistaken, you'll soon want to hear more of the unique Webster sound.

Danish jazz archivist Buchmann-Moller presents an extremely comprehensive ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Williams featuring Ben Webster: Havin' a Good Time

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By Ted Kane

Over the years, I've come to be a bit skeptical of the “discovered" or “lost classic" type of record release. You know, the kind where the historical significance is trumpeted and the sound quality is at a subbootleg level. Most of the time, that stuff languished in a vault for a reason all those years. Still, when I heard about Havin' a Good Time, the only known pairing of the great jazz/blues singer and Basie ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Williams featuring Ben Webster: Havin' A Good Time

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Havin' A Good Time documents a concert that never should have happened. In the winter of 1964 Providence was socked with a blizzard that kept eager concertgoers away from the club where Joe Williams was playing. Enough people showed up that he still had to perform a few sets, but the lucky few who were there were given a rare treat; improbably, Ben Webster showed up out of nowhere and asked if he could sit in.

This is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ben Webster: Ben Webster: Soulville

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I accidentally lucked into the music of Ben Webster while sifting through the “W" section of some dusty used record bin years ago. The cover looked cool, with its classic profile shot of an unsmiling, world-weary Webster featured beneath the boldly printed title, Soulville. I impulsively bought the disc, took it home, and a few days later got around to playing it. Whoa! Had I stumbled onto something BIG. From that record on, I no longer thought of jazz as ...