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Dig Ben!

Dig Ben!


When tenor saxophonist Ben Webster left the U.S. to reside in Europe, it was for two reasons -- opportunity and respect. He was financially more able to make his mark there, as a living legend, in a position where many other African-American jazzmen would follow his lead. This eight-CD box set from the Storyville label documents many recordings he did for the company -- in live club settings, mostly in Denmark, but also England, Finland, Sweden, and Germany. There are studio dates from radio sessions; various small ensembles (primarily quartets); two full CDs of big bands in rehearsals or with completed finished product (one of the big-band CDs including strings); and collaborations with such notables as Teddy Wilson, Buck Clayton, Dexter Gordon, and Clark Terry. Also included are a handful of stateside sessions before he moved, one rare recording of him playing stride piano, duets with bassist Milt Hinton, some drummerless trios, and previously unissued material. What you get is a potpourri of his works including swing standards, a little bop, blues, original jam tunes, and of course the ballads that identify him as a true master of the idiom. Generally, Webster still sounds pretty good, with his full tone and cool persona intact. The time line starts with short American studio recordings of 1959-1962 and East Coast dates in 1963-1964, moving to Ronnie Scott's club in London during 1964 and then to greater Northern Europe from 1965 until his death in Holland in 1973. The downside is that the collection is not programmed with much continuity or cohesion. Tracks leap from year to year with different bands, you don't really hear a progression of his style in Europe, and the club dates have Webster's tenor often "in the red," or distorted. You do hear his fluid technique and slightly extrapolated, witty melody lines, but not the cleanliness of his pure sound. The best sessions, which unfortunately also display the less-than-optimal opportunity to hear Webster himself, are the live dates from the Caf? Monmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark, a city where Webster resided (Amsterdam being the other), and one cut from the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland. Fellow expatriates pianist Kenny Drew and drummer Al Heath join with Webster and the great Danish bassist Niels-Henning ?rsted Pedersen to form the nucleus of as solid a jazz quartet as one can get. There are also nights where either Rune Carlsson or Alex Riel replace Heath. The brief collaborations with Gordon work extremely well, with Clayton (in Antwerp, 1967, on the fifth CD) not so much, and alongside Terry there's a bit of magic. Webster worked frequently with local piano-bass-drums combos, too -- British pianist Stan Tracey, Swedish pianist Lars Sj?sten, and briefly Camille de Ceunynck being the most effective accompanists. Trumpeters Rolf Ericson and Arne Ryskog are also good foils for Webster. On the seventh CD, the stock chart collaboration with the Danish Radio Big Band provides the most refined and populist music, while the eighth CD with the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra rehearsal sessions is ragged at best, producing only a scant few finished pieces with vocalist Matty Peters and Webster cutting up, but finalizing little polished music. Of the recordings done in the U.S., there are club sets in Providence, RI, in 1963 with the Mike Renzi Trio that have a raw edge production-wise, while the older studio masters or alternate takes of Webster's originals, the blues tune "Poutin'" and bopper "Randle's Island" (on the eighth CD) with a quartet featuring pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Mel Lewis, are complete, but in need of editing or redoing. The third CD, with 11 tracks, sports the most spirited playing, at Ronnie Scott's with Tracey, bassist Rick Laird, and drummer Jackie Dougan. They breeze through "Gone with the Wind," Charlie Parker's evergreen bop icon "Confirmation" (credited as written by Dizzy Gillespie, correctly identified in the liner notes),..

  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: --
  • Label: Storyville
  • UPC: 717101860128
HPB pick - Out of stock
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Track listings

  • 1. Johnny Come Lately (Live)
  • 2. Perdido (Live)
  • 3. Autumn Leaves (Live)
  • 4. Old Folks (Live)
  • 5. Mack The Knife (Live)
  • 6. Sunday (Live)
  • 7. Come Sunday (Live)
  • 8. Our Love Is Here To Stay (Live)
  • 9. Theme, The (Live)
  • Disc 2:
  • 1. On Green Dolphin Street
  • 2. Bye, Bye Blackbird
  • 3. Love Come Back To Me
  • 4. Wee Dot
  • 5. Tenderly
  • 6. Sometimes I'm Happy
  • 7. Embraceable You
  • 8. Theme, The
  • 9. Sophisticated Lady
  • 10. Stridin' With Ben
  • 11. All The Things You Are
  • 12. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
  • 13. I Got It Bad
  • 14. Our Blues
  • Disc 3:
  • 1. Danny Boy
  • 2. Intro Ronnie Scott
  • 3. Blues In B Flat
  • 4. Stardust
  • 5. Gone With The Wind
  • 6. Theme, The
  • 7. Confirmation
  • 8. Poutin'
  • 9. Night In Tunisia, A
  • 10. Over The Rainbow
  • 11. How High The Moon
  • 12. Willow Weep For Me
  • 13. Perdido
  • Disc 4:
  • 1. Pennies From Heaven
  • 2. Blues In B Flat
  • 3. In A Mellotone
  • 4. Sunday
  • 5. Cotton Tail
  • 6. Gone With The Wind
  • 7. Cotton Tail
  • 8. My Romance
  • 9. Cotton Tail
  • 10. In A Mellotone
  • 11. How Long Has This Been Going On?
  • Disc 5:
  • 1. C Jam Blues
  • 2. My Romance
  • 3. Our Love Is Here To Stay
  • 4. Avalon
  • 5. Chelsea Bridge
  • 6. Danny Boy
  • 7. How High The Moon
  • 8. How Long Has This Been Going On?
  • 9. B Flat Blues
  • 10. Medley: How Long Has Thing Been Going On?/Sophisticated Lady
  • 11. In A Mellotone
  • 12. For Heavens Sake
  • Disc 6:
  • 1. C Jam Blues (Live)
  • 2. Don't Get Around Much Anymore (Live)
  • 3. Theme, The (Live)
  • 4. Old Folks
  • 5. Satin Doll
  • 6. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
  • 7. I've Got Rhythm (Live)
  • 8. Satin Doll (Live)
  • 9. Indiana (Live)
  • Disc 7:
  • 1. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
  • 2. Cotton Tail
  • 3. Greensleeves
  • 4. Rockin' In Rhythm
  • 5. Stompy Jones
  • 6. Cry Me A River
  • 7. Bojangles
  • 8. Perdido
  • 9. Our Love Is Here To Stay
  • 10. Ain't Misbehavin'
  • 11. Mop Mop
  • 12. Our Love Is Here To Stay
  • 13. Perdido
  • Disc 8:
  • 1. Did You Call Her Today (Take 1)
  • 2. Did You Call Her Today (Take 2)
  • 3. Did You Call Her Today (Take 3)
  • 4. Did You Call Her Today (Take 4)
  • 5. Did You Call Her Today (Take 5)
  • 6. Did You Call Her Today (Take 6)
  • 7. Did You Call Her Today (Take 7)
  • 8. Did You Call Her Today (Take 8)
  • 9. Baby It's Cold Outside (Take 1, 2, 3)
  • 10. Baby It's Cold Outside (Take 4)
  • 11. Baby It's Cold Outside (Take 5)
  • 12. Cotton Tail
  • 13. Old Folks (Take 1)
  • 14. Old Folks (Take 2)
  • 15. Old Folks (Take 3)
  • 16. Old Folks (Take 4)
  • 17. Old Folks (Take 5)
  • 18. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
  • 19. Song Is Ended, The
  • 20. Poutin' (Take 1, 2)
  • 21. Poutin' (Take 3)
  • 22. Poutin' (Take 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • 23. Randle's Island (Take 10)
  • 24. Randle's Island (Take 11)
  • 25. Randle's Island (Take 12)
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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