Portrait of Ben Webster, Pt. II (Podcast #18-003)

A look at the music of Ben Webster after his tenure with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Continue reading

“He was considered the supreme ballad master. As great as Prez, Hawk and Byas were, they all had to take a back seat to Ben on ballads. Ben almost had a monopoly on the pretty ones. His breathy, whispy [sic] style, coupled with a most distinct tone enabled him to get an effect of a violin sound in his upper register playing. And when he would manipulate down to the lower register, he would nearly blow you out of your mind.”

-Bernard Montgomery

ben webster late


 Jet Magazine, 24 July 1958

BW website

Screenshot from The Official Ben Webster website


 Ben Webster’s ashes are buried at Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen

The recordings heard on this podcast episode:


Blue Light (LP: “Atmosphere for Lovers and Thieves” Black Lion Records 65117)

Recorded September 1965, Copenhagen

Ben Webster, Ole Kongsted – tenor sax; Arnved Meyer – trumpet; John Darville – trombone; Niels Jorgen Steen – piano; Henrik Hartmann – bass; Hans Nymand – drums.

bw with strings

What Am I Here For? (CD: “Music for Loving” Verve 314 527 774-2)

Recorded 9 September 1955, New York City

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Al Epstein, Danny Bank – reeds; Harold Colletta, Martin Donegan, Leo Kruczek, Harry Lookofsky, Eugene Orloff, Tosha Samaroff, Paul Winter – violin; Burt Fisch – viola; Abram Boradkin, George Ricci, Lucien Schmitt – cello; Hank Jones – piano; Chet Amsterdam, Wendell Marshall – bass; Osie Johnson – drums; Ralph Burns – arranger, conductor.

My Funny Valentine

Recorded 30 March 1954, New York City

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Teddy Wilson – piano; Ray Brown – bass; Jo Jones – drums.

BW emarcy

Pouting/The Iron Hat (CD: “The Complete Ben Webster on EmArcy” EmArcy 824 836-2(1))

Recorded 23 January 1953, New York City

Don Elliot – trumpet, mellophone; Eddie Bert – trombone; Sam Rubinowitch – alto sax, piccolo; Ben Webster – tenor sax; Sidney Brown – baritone sax; Billy Taylor – piano; Milt Hinton – bass; Jo Jones – drums; Johnny Richards – arranger.



In a Mellow Tone / The Single Petal of a Rose (CD: “See You At The Fair” Impulse! GRD-121)

Recorded 11 March 1964, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Hank Jones – piano; Richard Davis – bass; Osie Johnson -drums.


Caravan (CD: “Ben Webster meets Don Byas” Verve 827920-2)

Recorded 1/2 February 1968, Villingen, Black Forest, Germany

Ben Webster, Don Byas – tenor sax; Tete Montoliu – piano; Peter Trunk – bass; Albert “Tootie” Heath – drums.

ben and bean

It Never Entered My Mind (CD: “Coleman Hawkins encounters Ben Webster” Verve 9884036)

Recorded 16 October 1957, Los Angeles

Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins – tenor sax; Oscar Peterson – piano; Herb Ellis – guitar; Ray Brown – bass; Alvin Stoller – drums.

side by side

Just A Memory (CD: “Johnny Hodges and Duke Ellington – Side by Side” PolyGram

Recorded 14 August 1958, New York City

Johnny Hodges – alto saxophone; Roy Eldridge – trumpet; Lawrence Brown – trombone; Ben Webster – tenor saxophone; Billy Strayhorn – piano; Wendell Marshall – bass; Jo Jones – drums.

king of the tenors

That’s All (CD: “King of the Tenors” Verve 314 519 806-2)

Recorded 8 December 1953, Los Angeles

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Harry “Sweets” Edison – trumpet; Benny Carter – alto sax; Oscar Peterson – piano; Herb Ellis – guitar; Ray Brown – bass; Alvin Stoller – drums.

ben and art tatum

Gone with the Wind (CD: “The Tatum Group Masterpieces” Pablo J33J 20034)

Recorded 11 September 1956, Los Angeles

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Art Tatum – piano; Red Callender – bass; Bill Douglass – drums.

slim gaillard

Potato Chips (CD: Slim Gaillard, “Laughing in Rhythm: The Best of the Verve Years” Verve 314 521 651-2)

Recorded 1952, New York City

Slim Gaillard – vocal; Ben Webster – tenor sax; others unknown.


C Jam Blues/Chelsea Bridge (LP: Various Artists, “Newport Jazz Festival Live (Unreleased Highlights from 1956, 1958, 1963”) Columbia C2 38262)

Recorded 4 July 1958 live at The Newport Jazz Festival

Cootie Williams – trumpet; Rex Stewart – cornet; Tyree Glenn – trombone; Hilton Jefferson – alto sax; Ben Webster – tenor sax; Billy Strayhorn – piano; Oscar Pettiford – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.

ella and duke

All Too Soon (CD: “Ella & Duke at The Cote D’Azur” PolyGram 539030)
Recorded 29 July 1966, Juan-les-Pins, France

Ray Nance – trumpet, violin; Ben Webster – tenor sax; Cat Anderson, Herbie Jones, Mercer Ellington – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; John Lamb – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums.