Ben Webster

Cotton Tail

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Ben Webster was one of the great pre-bop tenor saxophonists, ranking just below Coleman Hawkins (his main influence) and Lester Young (with whose family band he had played early on) in importance. This 1997 CD has highlights from the first half of Webster's career, but it is a rather frivolous release. All of the music (14 selections from a two-year period with Duke Ellington, three songs from Rex Stewart's small group from the Ellington band, two tunes with Bennie Moten in 1932, and a song apiece with Willie Bryant, Lionel Hampton, and Benny Carter in 1946) is currently available elsewhere. No rarities are included, except for perhaps the 1946 rendition of "Cadillac Slim." Webster is heard throughout at his best, but since he did not record for Victor as a leader, he is just one of many top sidemen. While the set is filled with classics (including "Cotton Tail," "All Too Soon," "Bojangles," "Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'," and "Chelsea Bridge"), one wishes that RCA had spent their time and resources making more obscure music available instead.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:09
2 3:30
3 3:26
4
feat: Bennie Moten
2:46
5 3:09
6 2:38
7 2:56
8 2:52
9 3:24
10 3:25
11 3:04
12 3:24
13 3:21
14 3:33
15 2:57
16 3:11
17 2:53
18 2:29
19 3:07
20 3:26
21 2:47
22
feat: Benny Carter
3:01
blue highlight denotes track pick