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Ben Webster: “Chelsea Bridge”

Nothing much to say about Ben Webster. The only thing to do is listen. The other players above, according to the notes at YouTube, are Stan Tracy on piano, Rick Laird on bass and Jackie Dougan on drums.

Also check out “Old Folks” and “Over the Rainbow.” That post also celebrated Sarah Vaughan’s birthday, so there is a clip of her singing “Misty.”

Here is more on Webster, by Scott Yanow:

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 played sax in the Young Family Band (which at the time included Lester Young). He had stints with Jap Allen and Blanche Calloway (making his recording debut with the latter) before joining Bennie Moten’s Orchestra in time to be one of the stars on a classic session in 1932. Webster spent time with quite a few orchestras in the 1930s (including Andy Kirk, Fletcher Henderson in 1934, Benny Carter, Willie Bryant, Cab Calloway, and the short-lived Teddy Wilson big band). (Continue Reading…)