From Kent, UK, near London, Rifftides reader Don Emanuel writes about this Ben Webster posting. It included mention of four Webster CDs.
Thanks for keeping the memory of Ben Webster alive. I know it’s all a matter of taste and personal preferences, but how could you miss out the album he made with Tatum, in (I think) 1956 in your recommended Webster albums. I’ve got dozens of his albums and although Tatum appears to solo under Ben’s solos, which you would think would make the recording a complete mess, it turns out to be a true jazz masterpieice.
Has Ben’s sumptuous tone ever been captured better. Have the standards they play ever been interpreted any more lovingly?
Ben doesn’t actually improvise much on this album but his reading of the tunes played is so exquisite that I get goosebumps every time I play the album.
An album which is pure emotion to me.
It was not my intention to list, rate or rank Webster’s output. A search of Amazon or any of the other major internet CD outlets will turn up dozens of CDs by or featuring him. I don’t know of one in which he is boring or disappointing. I agree with Mr. Emanuel about the Tatum-Webster. It is, by most critical evalutions, the best of the Tatum Group Masterpieces series. Webster caressing the melody of “My Ideal” is one of the most affecting ballad performances on record. Big Ben, a Proper box, has four CDs with highlights of Webster’s work from 1931 to 1951, including a generous selection of pieces featuring him with the early forties Duke Ellington band.