Someone to Watch Over Me: The Life and Music of Ben Webster (Jazz Perspectives)

For a part century, Ben Webster, one of many "big 3" of swing tenors-along with Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young-was one of many best-known and hottest saxophonists.

Early in his profession, Webster labored with a number of the maximum orchestras of the time, together with these led through Willie Bryant, Cab Calloway, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson, Andy Kirk, Bennie Moten, and Teddy Wilson. In 1940 Webster grew to become Duke Ellington's first significant tenor soloist, and through the following 3 years he performed on many well-known recordings, together with "Cotton Tail."

Someone to monitor Over Me tells, for the 1st time, the full tale of Ben Webster's magnificent and profession. For this entire examine of Webster, writer Frank Büchmann-Møller interviewed greater than fifty humans within the usa and Europe, and he contains a number of translated excerpts from eu periodicals and newspapers, none formerly on hand in English. moreover, the writer stories each recognized Webster recording and picture, together with many deepest recordings from Webster's domestic assortment now not to be had to the public.

Exhaustively researched, it is a a lot wanted and lengthy past due examine of the existence and song of 1 of jazz's most vital artists.

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His choruses in Jersey jump are only in addition established, without much less swing in traces frequently accenting the offbeat. even though, the song recorded at a calm consultation below the management of trombonist invoice Harris with Ben, Jimmy Rowles, bassist crimson Mitchell, and drummer Stan Levey on September 23, 1957, was once extra unique. there's a remarkable distinction among Ben and Harris. whereas Ben consistently made his words and riffs ‹t jointly logically, Harris performs in a percussive sort with each one notice seeming to puncture the melody instead of carry it jointly.

Eleven Stewart has this to assert approximately Ben’s friendship with Blanton: Ben used to be a special guy as he watched over Blanton like a mom rooster. For the ‹rst time because I’d identified Ben, he lower approach down on his whisky and might sit down via the hour counseling younger Jimmie at the proof of lifestyles. it truly is mere speculation—and i'll be flawed— yet I can’t aid feeling that if Blanton had Ben’s recommendation, he may nonetheless be with us. A funny little bit of the organization among Blanton and Ben involves brain: The Ellington band was once up within the some distance northern a part of the rustic enjoying a theatre, and simply as we ‹nished our final convey, 65 Golden Years with Ellington we spotted that it had started to snow like mad.

Even if Ben most likely could have loved to prevent it, the development boosted the strain among Byas and himself. They nonetheless bumped into one another at jam classes at Minton’s Playhouse and in other places, or even played jointly frequently, no longer least in Europe, yet from then on there looked to be a contention among them that didn't continually bene‹t the song. The spring of 1944 had introduced many adjustments in Ben’s quartet. Marlowe Morris changed Billy Taylor, and in flip was once changed by means of Clyde Hart in April, whereas John Simmons joined on bass while Charlie Drayton used to be hired somewhere else.

Following a couple of neighborhood bookings, Calloway was once employed for a six-month engagement on the Cotton membership, thought of the main recognized of recent York nightclubs within the Nineteen Twenties and Nineteen Thirties, catering to the city’s white higher category. On July 29, 1936, Ellington used Ben on one other recording consultation. once more, Ben is featured in a single track merely, In a Jam, and the following the in›uence of Johnny Hodges is obvious. Hodges solos sooner than Ben in calland-response with Rex Stewart, and Ben imitates Hodges’s calm phraseology and vibrato to the level that during the start, one thinks Hodges continues to be taking part in.

In early July 1942, the Ellington orchestra moved east, and soon ahead of they left, Jimmy Rowles drove Ben and Eudora in his automobile to go to Jimmie Blanton, who have been dedicated to a medical institution with tuberculosis. whereas taking part in bounce for pleasure the former yr, it was once came across that he used to be ailing, and some months later, he was once so susceptible that Ellington employed Alvin “Junior” Raglin in San Francisco to play bass in addition to him. Ellington quickly had him hospitalized on the l. a. normal medical institution, the place tuberculosis experts had promised to aid him.

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