Ben Webster

Verve Jazz Masters 43

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There was only one Ben Webster, but the tenor saxophonist known affectionately as "the Frog" had in himself two very divergent musical personalities, one that was brash and powerful and blew hard and forcefully and one that whispered and cried with delicate nuance and emotion, sounding for all the world like one half of an intimate conversation late at night under a muted sky. This set has examples of both approaches and features Webster working with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Benny Carter, Gerry Mulligan, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hodges, Coleman Hawkins, and others. Highlights include the breezy "Meet the Frog," the funky "Soulville," and Webster at his weeping, sighing best on moving versions of Harold Arlen's "Come Rain or Come Shine" and Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust."

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