Ben Webster

1931-1946

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AllMusic Review by

Duke Ellington predominates on this invigorating core sample taken from the early portion of tenor saxophonist Ben Webster's recording career (1931-1942). While more than half of the 22 tracks tap into some of Webster's finest moments with the Duke, the rest of the sources are colorful and varied, as he is heard blowing his horn with Blanche Calloway & Her Joy Boys, Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra, the Benny Carter and Lionel Hampton orchestras, Slim Gaillard & His Flat Foot Floogie Boys, Tony Scott's Down Beat Club Septet, and as leader of his own small sax and rhythm combos. This anthology is a superb showcase for young Ben Webster's luscious and often meaty style. The only thing missing is an example from his tenure with Willie Bryant's Orchestra circa 1935. If they'd thrown in an example from that band, this would have been near perfect. As it is, it's merely outstanding.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:58
2
feat: Bennie Moten
3:23
3
feat: Benny Carter
3:07
4 2:39
5 3:08
6 3:22
7 4:14
8 3:33
9 3:00
10 3:11
11 2:28
12 3:13
13 2:51
14 2:38
15 3:24
16 2:36
17 2:47
18 3:06
19 4:00
20 2:58
21 2:54
22
feat: Benny Carter
2:58
blue highlight denotes track pick