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Ben Webster

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 p**sy 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. During the next three years he was on many famous recordings, including "Cotton Tail" (which in addition to his memorable solo had a saxophone ensemble arranged by Webster) and "All Too Soon." After leaving Ellington in 1943 (he would return for a time in 1948-1949), Webster worked on 52nd Street; recorded frequently as both a leader and a sideman; had short periods with Raymond Scott, John Kirby, and Sid Catlett; and toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic during several seasons in the 1950s. Although his sound was considered out-of-style by that decade, Webster's work on ballads became quite popular and Norman Granz recorded him on many memorable sessions. Webster recorded a classic set with Art Tatum and generally worked steadily, but in 1964 he moved permanently to Copenhagen where he played when he pleased during his last decade. Although not all that flexible, Webster could swing with the best and his tone was a later influence on such diverse players as Archie Shepp, Lew Tabackin, Scott Hamilton, and Bennie Wallace. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Storyville Ben Webster

1. Johnny Come Lately

3. Stompy Jones

4. Cotton Tail

5. Going Home

6. Come Sunday

7. Our Blues

8. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good

9. C Jam Blues

10. Stardust

11. In A Mellotone

12. Sunday

13. Old Folks

x

Track List: For Lovers

1. When I Fall In Love

2. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

3. Someone To Watch Over Me

4. My Funny Valentine

5. Where Are You?

6. Love Is Here To Stay

7. Time After Time

8. Stardust

9. Tell Me When

10. Time On My Hands

11. Over The Rainbow

x

Track List: Ben Webster's Finest Hour

1. See You At The Fair

2. Hotter Than 'ell

3. The Ghost Of Dinah

4. Cotton Tail

6. Linger Awhile

7. Stardust

8. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

9. My Greatest Mistake

11. Sunday

12. While We're Dancing

14. Chelsea Bridge

15. Roses Of Picardy

16. Single Petal Of A Rose

x

Track List: Until Tonight

1. Time After Time

2. Chelsea Bridge

3. Tenderly

4. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

5. It Never Entered My Mind

6. Danny Boy

7. Blue Moon

8. Makin' Whoppee

9. Some Other Spring

10. Where Are You

11. La Rosita

12. Until Tonight

13. That's All

x

Track List: Ultimate Ben Webster

1. Boogie Woogie

2. Cotton Tail

3. There Is No Greater Love

4. Tenderly

5. Trouble In Mind

6. Don't Mention My Name

7. Early Autumn

8. Sunday

9. Time After Time

11. Ill Wind

12. Chelsea Bridge

13. Young Bean

14. Who

x

Track List: The Soul Of Ben Webster

Disc 1

1. Fajista

2. Chelsea Bridge

4. Coal Train

5. When I Fall In Love

6. Ev's Mad

7. Ash

8. Blues For The Blues

10. Moonlight In Vermont

12. Blues For The Blues

Disc 2

1. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You

3. You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me

4. I Didn't Know About You

5. Reelin' And Rockin'

6. Gone With The Wind

9. Don't Take Your Love From Me

11. Satin Doll

12. Cool Your Motor

13. Reelin' And Rockin'

14. Don't Take Your Love From Me

x

Track List: Jazz Masters 43

1. Meet The Frog

2. That's All

3. Come Rain Or Come Shine

4. Pennies From Heaven

5. Old Folks

6. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To

7. You're Mine You

8. De Dar

9. Bye Bye Blackbird

11. In A Mellow Tone

12. Chelsea Bridge

13. Love's Away

14. Soulville

15. Stardust

x

Track List: Jazz 'Round Midnight

1. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

2. Time On My Hands

3. Early Autumn

5. When I Fall In Love

6. Willow Weep For Me

7. Prelude To A Kiss

8. Chelsea Bridge

9. My Funny Valentine

10. You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me

11. Where Are You

12. Ill Wind

13. All Too Soon

14. Tenderly

15. We'll Be Together Again

x

Track List: See You At The Fair

1. Someone To Watch Over Me

2. In A Mellow Tone

3. Over The Rainbow

4. Our Love Is Here To Stay

5. The Single Petal Of A Rose

6. See You At The Fair

7. Stardust

8. Fall Of Love

9. While We're Dancing

10. Lullaby Of Jazzland

x

Track List: Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson

1. The Touch Of Your Lips

2. When Your Lover Has Gone

3. Bye Bye Blackbird

4. How Deep Is The Ocean

5. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

6. Sunday

7. This Can't Be Love

x

Track List: Ben Webster And Associates

1. In A Mellow Tone

2. De-Dar

3. Young Bean

4. Time After Time

5. Budd Johnson

x

Track List: Soulville

1. Soulville

2. Late Date

3. Time On My Hands

4. Lover Come Back To Me

5. Where Are You

7. Ill Wind

8. Who

9. Boogie Woogie

10. Roses Of Picardy

x

Track List: King Of The Tenors

1. Tenderly

2. Jive At Six

3. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

4. That's All

5. Bounce Blues

6. Pennies From Heaven

7. Cotton Tail

8. Danny Boy

9. Poutin'

10. Bounce Blues (Alternate Take)

11. That's All (Single Version)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Michael A. Missiras, Ph.D.
Trumpet/Corn e t / C o m p o s e r
NYC/ arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m

One of the first African Anerican musicians to move in the direction of a lighter more sensitive tone; either in his work with Ellington or in his own. As such paving the way for players such as Lester Young, and the entire west coast school of tenor player who took third cues from Young, via Ben Webster.
Report as inappropriate
poppa_bear49
DON'T POUR NO WATER ON HIM...DON'T. . . P O U R . . . N O . . . W A T E R ! ! ! Let the man burn. Ben is GREAT!!!
Report as inappropriate
poppa_bear49
Make a BLIND man see...catch a FISH without a hook...this man can FLAT-OUT blow the SAX. COOK BEN COOK!!!
Report as inappropriate
Webster was SO cool --check out his masterful album with that great sax genius Gerry Mulligan for one of the greatest cool-jazz listening experiences EVAH! --beginning with an exquisitely lyrical & truly unforgettabl e rendering of Chelsea Bridge! Sit back with a fine glass of red & some good dark chocolate & dig it! BLISSFUL!
Report as inappropriate
Outstanding!
Report as inappropriate
Great performance on all sides, but the balance is a bit skewed, with sax too near the mike and trumpet too far back. Seems they could have controlled that on the board.
Report as inappropriate
Overjoyed. BW with the GM.
Report as inappropriate
I love his tenor sax sound wish i had one like it saxaphones are where its at!!
Report as inappropriate
Needs more cowbell
Report as inappropriate
Ben Webster, his sound will bring you out of the darkness into the light.
Report as inappropriate
Ben Webster so rich and warm, like hot coffee on cold winter night.
Report as inappropriate
Ben Webster was unlike anyone else. His ballads are so wonderful, so full of emotion and a kind of sadness too, in my opinion.
Report as inappropriate
...man, I could listen to Ben play all day long...
Report as inappropriate
@herman5445 - if you say so it must be true...
Report as inappropriate
Beautiful voice but, I thought it was a woman until I looked @ the name. How unique & totally awesome!!
Report as inappropriate
Deke Rivers is a racist
Report as inappropriate
rosemark13
yeah, that's what I was thinking. But then I'm just glad someone else has a shorter attn' span than I and am just thankful.
Report as inappropriate
You could have made at least one reference to Ben Webster in that rambling bio of Oscar Peterson (who, admittedly, is great) so we could click on it and learn more about Ben Webster. Unless that just took us back to Oscar Peterson.
Report as inappropriate
i dont think Pandora reads any postings.. if they did some should be removed,, lol
Report as inappropriate
pandora..cle a n this bio mistake up..how many times do you have to be told thanks
Report as inappropriate
plotnick
This is Oscar Peterson's bio! Not Ben Webster's
Report as inappropriate
Who is doing these bios? Now playing Ben Webster and I get the Oscar Peterson Bio!????
Report as inappropriate
My favorite of the 'big three'. Every time he comes on my ears perk up and I stop to listen. Never stops amazing me. Just when I think it might be someone else it's Ben. Superb phrasing, tone, and soul to spare.
Report as inappropriate
When I heard this beautiful voice for the 1st time I thought it was Billy; but to my surprise it was this unique tenor and his voice is also a wonder!
Report as inappropriate
haladayj
Another Oscar Peterson bio under Ben Webster's name. Irritating.
Report as inappropriate
haladayj
Why is Oscar Peterson's bio here under Ben Webster's name? Fix this, Pandora.
Report as inappropriate
lastgasp61
wrong bio
Report as inappropriate
My favorite tenor man of all time. Tone & soul to spare!
Report as inappropriate
dody8
Dear marti153, you are absolutely correct. Here's to HAL.
Report as inappropriate
Every one of us should send an email to Attn MANAGEMENT, re:mixed-up Biographies (i sent one an hour ago). I don't think it's just the JAZZ Genre w/a problem... TO GET TO the email-contac t - o p t i o n you FIRST have to CLIK on the ABOUT lynk at the BOTTOM of this page. This is an IT/programme r / s i t e design problem. Tell them you love them, but be stern about this : Investors,ne c e s s a r y for Pandora to stay above-water, notice this kind of sloppiness!
Report as inappropriate
marti153
Why no corrections? There are no people at Pandora. It's run automaticall y by a big computer named HAL.
Report as inappropriate
Pandora - well at least you have ONE of the Big Three's bios up there but IT IS STILL WRONG! Aside from that - I love, love, love this man's tone! My all-time fave tenor man.
Report as inappropriate
Not one mention anywhere here of the fact that one of THE greatest lyrical collaboratio n s ever in contemporary jazz history was 'Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster'- (as is GMs with the great Paul Desmond) SO-if by some sad mischance the album somehow got past you then go out of your way to get it & dig it!!! Track one-'Chelsea Bridge' is alone worth the price of the album & then some --but it's ALL COOL nothing less than inspired lyrical tenor/barito n e duets. If you know it revisit! ENJOY!
Report as inappropriate
The great Ben Webster is the one and only Ben Webster. Why does Pandora have no direct feedback so that we can correct their mistakes?
Report as inappropriate
Now you have Roy Eldridge's picture and Budd Johnson's bio instead of Ben Webster's. What the f*&k is wrong with you people? Are you all smoking that s*&t? Well, stop it and wake the f$#k up! Stop dis-respecti n g the African-Amer i c a n Jazz musicians whose bio's you keep screwing up.
Report as inappropriate
marti153
I wrote it out in full but your stupid software censored it. Shame!
Report as inappropriate
marti153
What prissy nonsense is it that can't write out in full p**sy cat?
Report as inappropriate
I love the old band style. The United States Needs more good music.
Report as inappropriate
kelllargo
what is with this bio?
Report as inappropriate
teddygrahams
It is the wrong bio !!!
Report as inappropriate
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 p**sy 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).

http://allmu s i c . c o m / a r t i s t / b e n - w e b s t e r - p 7 7 9 3 / b i o g r a p h y
Report as inappropriate
This iS NOT BEN WEBSTERS bio
Report as inappropriate
maia.swans
WRONG BIO!
Report as inappropriate
I don't know if I want Midwest BBQ or hits the "traps" at about three in the morning for a 'cuttin' session, when I hear me some Big Ben.
Report as inappropriate
As of May 18, you still have the Oscar Peterson Pic and Bio under the Ben Webster site.
Report as inappropriate
ebreezeyeri
Pandora needs to take the OSCAR PETERSON pic AND bio off the Ben Webster site.
Report as inappropriate
Thanks to Pandora I get to listen to all of this Wonderful Real Jazz Music.... I Love, Love this Type of Music... I think I was born in the wrong era....
Report as inappropriate
dayasaki
I love Ben Webster!
Report as inappropriate
My favorite tenor sax man. I love a lot of them but Ben makes me weep inside.
Report as inappropriate
You've got your picture and headline data crossed with your bio copy. Ben Webster's picture with Oscar Peterson's bio. Come on guys, get it together.
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