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Album Review

Altoist Benny Waters celebrated his 95th birthday with a recorded performance from Birdland in New York. Waters, whose energetic playing is a little reminiscent of Tab Smith in the 1950s and could pass for a man in his fifties, performs five of his basic originals (including "Exactly Like Me," which is based on "Exactly Like You") and four standards with Mike LeDonne (mostly playing organ rather than piano), guitarist Howard Alden, bassist Earl May, and drummer Ed Locke. Although LeDonne and Alden have plenty of solo space, Waters is the dominant voice, and whether scatting on "Everybody Loves My Baby," caressing "I'm in the Mood for Love," showing off his technique on "Callin' the Cats" or jamming on "Blues Amore," he sounds amazingly ageless. Recommended.


Born: January 23, 1902 in Brighton, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Until his death at the age of 96, Benny Waters was not only the second oldest active jazz musician (to Eubie Blake who made it to 100) but a powerful altoist who would be considered impressive if he were only 50. Waters' personal history covered virtually the entire history of recorded jazz, although he never really became a major name. He worked with Charlie Miller from 1918-1921, studied at the New England Conservatory, and became a teacher; one of his students was Harry Carney, remarkably. Waters...
Full Bio
Birdland Birthday (Live At 95), Benny Waters
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