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There Is No Greater Love

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Album Review

Ben Webster was one of the great swing-era saxophonists, a player whose tone was a bit rougher than that of his contemporaries Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, but who shared with them a robust, broad-toned attack that fell out of favor during the bebop years. This session was recorded in Copenhagen in 1965 and features pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and drummer Alex Riel backing Webster on a program of standards. Webster blows sublimely throughout, delivering beautiful versions of "Easy to Love," "Stardust," "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" and, especially, "Autumn Leaves." But sloppy production is an irritant throughout; the rhythm section is poorly miked, and Webster's tenor saxophone is distorted in several places. Fans and completists shouldn't hesitate, but this album is not the best introduction to Webster's art.

Biography

Born: 27 March 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