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Musician

Ben Webster

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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: Album Review

Mark Masters: Masters & Baron Meet Blanton & Webster

Read "Masters & Baron Meet Blanton & Webster" reviewed by Jack Bowers


It is an absolute pleasure to hear several of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn's classic charts for Ellington's celebrated 1940-42 Blanton-Webster orchestra (named for a pair of its stars, bassist Jimmy Blanton and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster) adeptly rescored for a twenty-first century ensemble by the superlative arranger Mark Masters. And to ice the cake, the ...

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Article: Album Review

Chris Pattishall: Zodiac

Read "Zodiac" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


Per il suo debutto discografico Chris Pattishall ha scelto di reinterpretare la fondamentale e misconosciuta Zodiac Suite di Mary Lou Williams. Una prova che il pianista supera brillantemente alla guida del suo quintetto, in collaborazione col produttore Rafiq Bhatia. Nelle storie del jazz Mary Lou Williams viene ricordata soprattutto per le composizioni e ...

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News: Video / DVD

Big 10 by Ben Webster

Big 10 by Ben Webster

After yesterday's post, I decided to spend the day listening to Ben Webster. In his prime, Webster probably had the biggest sound of any tenor saxophonist. And on ballads, it sounded as if he was weeping through his instrument. Best of all, I love the puffs of air he let off in the spaces on ballads, ...

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Article: Album Review

Phisqa: Pachamama

Read "Pachamama" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Time has marched on since the eponymous debut of Phisqa, (Self-Produced, 2013), the band led by Peruvian drummer Cote Calmet. Then based in Dublin, Calmet placed the multinational quintet under wraps when his CEO Experiment—initially a trio, co-founded with Leopoldo Osio and Peter Erdei—started to take off. A promising debut recording, which also featured the great ...

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Article: Radio

Deodato, Ben Webster & Martin Wind

Read "Deodato, Ben Webster & Martin Wind" reviewed by Joe Dimino


Veteran bassist Martin Wind ushers in our 699th Episode of Neon Jazz. We also check in on a variety of musicians with 2021 releases including Marbin, Greg Abate, William Chernoff, Lage Lund, Matt DeMerritt and Tom Guarna. The show also looks back at some classic jazz that influenced modern music from cats like Slide Hampton, Kenny ...

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Article: Book Excerpts

Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz

Read "Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz" reviewed by David Burke


The following is a revised excerpt from “Chapter 3: Full Force Gail" of Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz by David Burke (Desert Hearts, 2021). In the 1980s, a new generation of black British musicians began to reconfigure the country's jazz scene, changing the face -and sound-of what had previously been a ...

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Article: Album Review

Ivo Perelman: Special Edition Box: Procedural Language

Read "Special Edition Box: Procedural Language" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp: how many duo recordings have their been? Five? A dozen? More like sixteen, and that's not taking into account the double, triple, quadruple releases, nor Perelman/Shipp's recordings in trio, quartet, and quintet formats. The numbers boggle the mind, and truth be told, flatten the wallet. While you may ask why so ...

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

Serendip Quartet: Queen Of Fire

Read "Queen Of Fire" reviewed by Chris May


This is the second album from Belgian tenor saxophonist Arnaud Guichard's Serendip Quartet. The first, The Tale (Impeka, 2018), received a deserved four-star review on All About Jazz, and Queen Of Fire is just as good, if not better. The first album's singular intersection of Ben Webster and mild hallucinogenics is still there to be savoured, ...


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