Articles | Popular | Future

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Webster: Ben Webster's First Concert in Denmark

Read "Ben Webster's First Concert in Denmark" reviewed by Chris Mosey

This is a small piece of jazz history. In January 1965, Ben Webster, newly arrived in Europe from America, was working out where to settle down. This concert shows why he decided on Copenhagen. The album starts with Webster making a point about the playing of his former boss Duke Ellington's “In A Mellotone." Webster argues his case on piano, an instrument he played well, while brusquely growling instructions to producer Børge Roger Henrichsen. There is a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Webster: In Norway

Read "In Norway" reviewed by Chris Mosey

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. ...

FILM REVIEWS

Tenor Sax Legend: Live and Intimate

Read "Tenor Sax Legend: Live and Intimate" reviewed by Michael Steinman

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Webster: Ben Webster: The Brute & The Beautiful

Read "Ben Webster: The Brute & The Beautiful" reviewed by Michael Steinman

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Webster: Centennial Celebration

Read "Centennial Celebration" reviewed by Martin Gladu

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

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

Read "Soho Nights, Vol. 1" reviewed by Graham L. Flanagan

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Webster: Dig Ben!

Read "Dig Ben!" reviewed by Graham L. Flanagan

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

Read "Someone To Watch Over Me: The Life and Music of Ben Webster" reviewed by Bob Jacobson

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Webster: Ben Webster: Soulville

Read "Ben Webster: Soulville" reviewed by John Ballon

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Webster: Soulville

Read "Soulville" reviewed by David Rickert

A photograph on the inside of Soulville 's CD cover shows Webster with his head tilted back, eyelids drooping and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. It’s a great photo, simply because Webster approaches soloing in much the same way. A relaxed and patient improviser who first made his name with Ellington’s band playing one definitive solo after another, the tenor saxophonist really blossomed once he struck out as a solo artist where he wasn’t boxed in by the confines ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Webster: Ben Webster and Associates

Read "Ben Webster and Associates" reviewed by David Adler

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Webster: Cotton Tail

Read "Cotton Tail" reviewed by AAJ Staff

RCA Victor recorded Ben Webster frequently during the 1930s and '40s, but not as a leader. The breathy tenor sax giant is heard strictly as a sidemen on this gem-laden collection (which spans 1932-1946), and he's in some first- class company. More than half of the disc's 22 recordings find him in Duke Ellington's employ, while the others illustrate the fact that Webster also did some excellent work with Lionel Hampton, Benny Moten, Benny Carter and Rex Stewart. Webster shows ...


Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.