Ben Webster

Live at Jazzhaus, Vol. 1

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Late in his career, Ben Webster recorded a series of concerts at the famed Jazzhus in Copenhagen. They are all quite inspired and memorable, not only because of Webster's unmistakable sound and lyrical sensitivity, but because of the rhythm section that backed him up on these dates. Pianist Kenny Drew (the only other American in the group), bassist Nils-Henning Orsted-Pederson, and drummer Alex Riel all shine on this CD.

In particular, Drew's impeccable bop solos always offer something intriguing, Riel's four bar breaks are consistently colorful, and Orsted-Pederson's fat sound rounds out the group's appeal. Webster himself plays best on ballads such as "That's All," "Misty," "My Romance," "Londonderry Air," and most of all "Over the Rainbow." As you can see, there are many ballads featured in this set. Webster fans know, however, that the tenor legend never plays "sleepers." In fact, he is one of the most moving instrumental balladeers jazz has ever produced. However, for those of you who like faster numbers, this CD does deliver with songs such as "Indiana" and Webster's oft recorded "Sunday."

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