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Album Review

The by turns grizzled and vaporous-toned Webster really hit his stride on the Verve label. During a stretch from roughly 1953-1959, the Ellington alumnus showcased his supreme playing with both combos and string sections, swingers and ballads — and lurking beneath his blustery and hulking sound were solo lines brimming with sophistication and wit. This 1957 date with the Oscar Peterson Trio is one of the highlights of that golden '50s run. After starting off with two bluesy originals — the slow burning title track and gutsy "Late Date" — Webster gets to the heart of things on five wistful ballads: Here, his exquisitely sly "Makin' Whoopee" is only outdone by an incredibly nuanced "Where Are You." Providing sympathetic counterpoint, Peterson forgoes his usual pyrotechnics for some leisurely compact solos; his cohorts — guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Stan Levey — are equally assured and splendid. And ending the set with flair, Webster takes over the piano for three somewhat middling yet still impressive stride and boogie-woogie-styled numbers (these are his only piano recordings). Newcomers shouldn't hesitate to start here.

Customer Reviews

Ben Webster

Ben Webster was my first love on tenor. No one except maybe Stan Getz has ever moved me so much. Sax players today seem to think that emotion must be portrayed with ugliness. Ben Webster could get to the heart of a song with his big beautiful sound. He could "growl" and "honk" when he felt it was needed but he never played out of tune. In "Soulville" he demonstrated his emotional as well as his agressive side. It's too bad that he was never fully appreciated in his own country. In his later years, he had to move to europe just to make a living.


This album is amazing. This is my favorite mellow, passionat jazz record in my (limited) collection. The band's soul is felt in every note, every beat.

Good, but not great

My favorite are the first two songs, but the album really has 3 very different feels.. Especially when you get to the boogie-woogie style numbers.

Top Albums and Songs by The Ben Webster Quintet

Soulville, The Ben Webster Quintet
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Customer Ratings