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At Montmartre 1965-66

Ben Webster

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Album Review

The great tenor Ben Webster moved permanently to Europe in December 1964, where he worked steadily during his last eight years. The music on this CD was previously unreleased and is drawn from two live sessions at the Montmartre in Copenhagen. The first nine selections are the earliest examples of Webster during his European years, while the final three are from 16 months later. Webster was quite consistent throughout his career, and during his later years he simply played a variety of his favorite standards, usually with a quartet. The bulk of this set has Webster joined by pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Niels Pedersen, and drummer Alex Riel, while the final numbers are with Pedersen, pianist Atli Bjørn, and drummer Rune Carlsson. The tenor is in top form, showing off his gorgeous tone on the ballads and romping on the hotter material. Highlights include "Pennies from Heaven," "My Romance," "In a Mellow Tone," "Someone to Watch Over Me," and two versions of "Cottontail."


Born: March 27, 1909 in Kansas City, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

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...
Full Bio

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