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Musician

Ben Webster

Born:

Ben Webster was considered one of the "big three" of swing tenors along with Coleman Hawkins (his main influence) and Lester Young. He had a tough, raspy, and brutal tone on stomps (with his own distinctive growls) yet on ballads he would turn into a pussy cat and play with warmth and sentiment. After violin lessons as a child, Webster learned how to play rudimentary piano (his neighbor Pete Johnson taught him to play blues). But after Budd Johnson showed him some basics on the saxophone, Webster played sax in the Young Family Band (which at the time included Lester Young). He had stints with Jap Allen and Blanche Calloway (making his recording debut with the latter) before joining Bennie Moten's Orchestra in time to be one of the stars on a classic session in 1932. Webster spent time with quite a few orchestras in the 1930s (including Andy Kirk, Fletcher Henderson in 1934, Benny Carter, Willie Bryant, Cab Calloway, and the short-lived Teddy Wilson big band). In 1940 (after short stints in 1935 and 1936), Ben Webster became Duke Ellington's first major tenor soloist

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Article: Interview

Stephane Mercier: New Saxophone Talent

Read "Stephane Mercier: New Saxophone Talent" reviewed by AAJ Staff


This article was originally published at All About Jazz in December 2001. Belgian alto saxophonist Stephane Mercier tolerates no boundaries. “I listened to some cheesy things when I was young--I don't mind. If I like something, I just put it," he proclaims about his approach to music. A new talent in the jazz world, ...

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Article: Live Review

Joel Frahm at Jazz At The Joint

Read "Joel Frahm at Jazz At The Joint" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


Joel Frahm Jazz At The Joint North Little Rock, AR July 11, 2022 Synergy. The word was first used in 1600, derived from the Greek συνεργός ("synergos"), which means “to work together" or “to cooperate," with the corollary that the results of this “cooperation" afford an output greater than the sum ...

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Article: The Jazz Life

I Hear a Rhapsody

Read "I Hear a Rhapsody" reviewed by David Caudill


We put out a call to visitors to AAJ to tell us their stories about how jazz has impacted, indeed shaped their lives. David Caudill heard the call. David has lived in Cincinnati for three decades and spent a long career writing, both in journalism and for a short while in corporate communications. He ...

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Article: Album Review

Dmitri Matheny: Cascadia

Read "Cascadia" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny and his quintet play perfectly on Cascadia. There is no surprise there--with a rhythm section of pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Phil Sparks and drummer Mark Ivester backing the front line of Matheny and saxophonist Charles McNeil-- perfection is the expectation. Matheny grew up in Georgia and Arizona, spent a formative and ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

From George Coleman to Meeco: Ten Overlooked Classics

Read "From George Coleman to Meeco: Ten Overlooked Classics" reviewed by Chris May


The only thread running through this installment of Building A Jazz Library is that of unsung quality. No particular artist is spotlighted, nor any particular genre. There are simply ten, randomly selected albums, recorded in the US and Europe between 1953 and 2021, which show jazz off at its finest, but which, for one reason or ...

News: Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Richard "Groove" Holmes

Jazz Musician of the Day: Richard "Groove" Holmes

All About Jazz is celebrating Richard “Groove" Holmes' birthday today! Richard Arnold “Groove" Holmes, Born Richard Arnold Jackson (Camden, New Jersey) was a jazz organist who performed in the hard bop and soul jazz genre. He is best known for his 1965 recording of “Misty," and is considered a precursor of acid jazz. Holmes burst onto ...

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Article: Album Review

Dave Green Trio plus Evan Parker: Raise Four

Read "Raise Four" reviewed by Duncan Heining


Bassist Dave Green recorded this set for the BBC Radio 3 programme Somethin' Else in 2004. In the interview included here with the show's presenter Jez Nelson, Green reflects on a forty year career in jazz. It is fitting that this fine record, only his fourth as leader, sees its release in the year Green marks ...

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Article: Jazz & Juice

Effervescence: Art Tatum Meets Champagne

Read "Effervescence: Art Tatum Meets Champagne" reviewed by Kristen Lee Sergeant


This edition of Jazz & Juice comes with a warning: both the bottle featured and the musician spotlighted are explosive, and should be handled with care. Uncork and listen responsibly. Effervescence When something sparkles, literally or figuratively, it bursts with life. In liquid, there is a perpetual motion of bubbles escaping in a dazzling ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

JC Plays Pretty for You: Ballads, Blues, and Soulful Tunes

Read "JC Plays Pretty for You: Ballads, Blues, and Soulful Tunes" reviewed by David Brown


This week, The Jazz Continuum plays pretty for you. Ballads, blues, and soulful tunes from Vi Redd, Ben Webster, Joel Ross, Derek Bailey, Somi, Les McCann, and many more. Plus, a remembrance of pianist Jessica Williams. Playlist Joel Ross “Prayer" from The Parable of the Poet (Blue Note) 0:01:20 Randy Weston African Rhythms “Prayer ...


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