Ben Webster

Blue Skies

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Ben Webster was never a particularly innovative or experimental tenor sax player, so he often gets overlooked when discussions turn to the greatest sax players of the 20th century, but he could do two things as well as anyone who ever picked up the instrument. He could blow rough and raspy and he could go sweet as fresh sugar on a ballad until one would swear the whole world was weeping. Webster didn't expand, deconstruct, and re-form melodies; he simply made them speak in a way that made the heart swell. This poorly annotated set has examples of both approaches recorded between 1934 and 1944, including the gently rolling "Blues on the Delta," a trademark romp on Duke Ellington's "Cotton Tail," and gorgeous melodic turns on Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" and Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust." This same era has been covered many times on other Webster anthologies, so it's difficult to recommend this one simply because of its lack of track information, but the music itself is top-notch, swinging and sighing by turns.

blue highlight denotes track pick