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Music for Loving

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Album Review

Combining two string albums by Ben Webster and one from Ellington sideman Harry Carney, the two-disc Music With Feeling delivers over two hours' worth of incredible ballad interpretations. Webster, of course, made his name with many an after-hours gem, and he predictably shines here amidst the lush yet tasteful orchestral charts penned by Ralph Burns, Gerald Wilson, and Billy Strayhorn; there are particularly fine renditions here of "Early Autumn" and Strayhorn's misty and mercurial "Chelsea Bridge." Carney, too, is stunning, handling the traditionally cumbersome baritone saxophone with grace and loads of feeling, especially on highlights like "It Had to Be You" and his and Strayhorn's "Chalmeau." Forget all those bachelor-pad compilations and give this collection a spin at your next cocktail party.


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...
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Music for Loving, Ben Webster
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