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Plays Duke Ellington

Ben Webster

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Album Review

Although he was only a member of Duke Ellington's Orchestra for three years, tenor-saxophonist Ben Webster was linked with Duke Ellington throughout his career. This Storyville release features the great tenor playing nine songs associated with Ellington. The music is drawn from five separate sessions including trio gigs with pianists Kenny Drew and Teddy Wilson and three with The Danish Radio Band. The emphasis is on uptempo pieces such as "Perdido," "Rockin' in Rhythm" and "Stompy Jones;" a special highlight are the two very different versions of "Cottontail."

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...
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