Ben Webster

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Ben Webster in 1947,
photograph by William P. Gottlieb

Benjamin Francis "Ben" Webster (born March 27, 1909 in Kansas City , Missouri , † September 20, 1973 in Amsterdam , Netherlands ) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist who occasionally played piano and clarinet . Like Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, he is regarded as one of the great tenor saxophonists of the swing era. His playing style varied from the sometimes breathy tone in ballads to the "throaty-croaking vibrato " at faster tempos. He was best known for his solos in the Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1940 to 1943 and later as a masterful interpreter of ballads. His nicknames were Frog and Brute .

His life

Childhood and youth

Mayme Barker Webster gave birth to their only son on March 27, 1909 at 2441 Highland Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri. His father, Walter Webster, lived at that time in Chicago and worked as a waiter in the dining car of the Pullman Company hired. Even before Ben was born, the marriage had broken down mainly because of his father's violence and alcoholism; the couple had separated (and Mayme had taken her maiden name Barker again). Mayme Barker was a trained teacher, and Ben grew up in Kansas City at 1222 Woodland Avenue with his mother and maternal grandmother, who he said spoiled him and granted his every wish.

Beginnings as a musician

Webster's mother gave music lessons at school and played the piano at home, but it was his great-aunt Joyce Cockrell who discovered his musical talent and gave him his first music lessons on her piano . Ben Webster had perfect pitch and was able to re-enact pieces he had heard on the radio as a child. He did not meet with approval from his mother, who would have preferred to see him as a classical violinist and therefore let him give violin lessons from Charles Watts. Ben hated both the violin and violin etudes and played popular African American music by ear on the piano whenever the opportunity arose.

The later famous jazz pianist Pete Johnson lived in the neighborhood (1215 Woodland Avenue) and occasionally gave Ben tuition. Above all, he trained Webster's left hand. By 1921, Ben had attended Attucks Elementary School and then moved to Lincoln High School , where he joined the school orchestra as a violinist. In 1925 and 1926 he studied at Wilberforce University near Xenia, Ohio; there he met the pianist Horace Henderson , who founded an orchestra called Wilberforce Collegians . Ben only occasionally played the piano in this orchestra, in which he was an assistant ( bandboy ); Henderson remembers a blues in F sharp, where he supposedly only played the black keys. Impressed by pianists such as Fats Waller and Duke Ellington , he continued to develop his skills as a stride pianist and soon got his first engagements in the clubs of Kansas City in the Twelfth Street and Vine area , either as a solo pianist or with his own band Rooster Ben and His Little Red Hens .

First engagements

In 1927 and 1928, Ben Webster made a name for himself as a pianist and joined various Territory Bands : Clarence Love from Kansas City, Brethro Nelson from Enid, Oklahoma and Dutch Campbell in Amarillo, Texas. In 1928 he worked as a pianist for silent films in Amarillo. During this time he met the saxophonist Budd Johnson . This was a member of the band of Eugene Coy and his Original Black Aces ; it was through him that Webster's interest in the saxophone was aroused. He asked Johnson to teach him the scales on the saxophone, and Johnson taught him Frankie Trumbauer's saxophone solo on Singin 'the Blues , which was very popular with all saxophonists at the time. Thereupon Ben borrowed an alto saxophone and began to practice several hours a day - in addition to his work as a pianist in the cinemas.

When Willis Handy Young (the father of Lester Young ) came to Amarillo with his family band in 1929 , Webster became a member of the band on his own initiative. He was given an alto saxophone (on loan from Lester Young's sister Irma), Lester Young and Webster practiced together, with Young teaching him not only technique, but also sheet music reading and music theory. At the end of 1929, the Young Band with Ben Webster had an engagement in East Land Park in Phoenix (Arizona). From there, Webster switched back to Eugene Coy Original Black Aces as an alto saxophonist and got his first own instrument there; he later described this period as his first engagement as a saxophonist.

The 1930s

In the spring of 1930 tenor saxophonist Harold Coleman left Coy's band and Webster switched from alto to tenor saxophone. In the fall of 1930, Webster in Tulsa, Oklahoma, joined the Cotton Club Orchestra of Jasper "Jap" Allen, which had accepted an engagement in Kansas City. When Allen wanted to downsize his orchestra in March 1931 due to the economic depression, Webster (like five other musicians in the band) received the offer to join Edgar Battle's band, the backing band of singer Blanche Calloway . With this band he made his first recordings in the same month. After stints on the East Coast including New York, Webster joined Kansas City's largest national orchestra, Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra . During this time, this orchestra developed what was later called the Kansas City Style , essentially the same rhythmic emphasis on all four beats in the measure (in contrast to the predominant two-beat jazz), the development of riffs on the part of the wind groups and blues-emphasized compositions. This orchestra went on extensive tours and made a series of recordings on December 13, 1932 in Camden, New Jersey, which are still considered to be the great moments of early Kansas City jazz. In January 1933 he left the Moten Orchestra and found work for a short time at the Sunset Club in Kansas City with a small group whose singer was Big Joe Turner .

Shortly thereafter, Andy Kirk Webster hired for his Twelve Clouds of Joy , which also included pianist Mary Lou Williams . On December 18, 1933, the Fletcher-Henderson Orchestra visited Kansas City. After a concert, tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and bassist John Kirby went to Cherry Blossom , where a famous jam session with the best tenor saxophonists from Kansas City, in particular Lester Young, Herschel Evans , Dick Wilson and Herman Walder , took place for a whole night and Ben Webster, played.

As a result of this session, Webster was perceived by Fletcher Henderson and the other musicians from this orchestra as a tenor saxophonist who came very close to Coleman Hawkins in playing and tone. Hawkins left Henderson after a few months and went to Europe; Lester Young was hired as his replacement, but his style did not fit so well with the Henderson Orchestra. In July 1934, Fletcher Henderson and Andy Kirk agreed on an exchange of tenorists: Lester Young came to Kirk and Ben Webster to Henderson. Webster described his time with Henderson as his most difficult musically so far, there were high demands on reading music, a tough school for him. The recordings from this time, however, prove his great advances in technology, rhythm and tone. The orchestra was dissolved in early November 1934 for financial reasons; Webster, like other musicians, was hired by Benny Carter , whose orchestra made some recordings of excellent quality compositions and arrangements by the conductor on December 13, 1934. Nevertheless, Carter had to disband the orchestra in early January 1935. Ben's next employer was the popular dancer and singer Willie Bryant , with Benny Carter, the pianist Teddy Wilson and the drummer Cozy Cole . This orchestra was very popular, especially in New York's Apollo Theater , and it also made recordings. During his time at Bryant (until mid-August 1935) he made recordings with various studio groups, such as the singer Bob Howard and his first recordings with Billie Holiday . He entered into a liaison with the singer, but it did not last long: The couple had become engaged and Ben introduced his bride to his family, which, according to Ben, caused an uproar due to Billie Holiday's behavior, and the couple fled back to New York; the engagement soon broke up.

On August 18, 1935, he made his first recordings with Duke Ellington , where he replaced Barney Bigard for two to three weeks . In September 1935 he was called to his orchestra by Cab Calloway , the most popular and best paid orchestra at the time. Before he left Calloway in July 1937 to join Fletcher Henderson, he took part in a few studio recordings, with Duke Ellington on July 29, 1936, with Billie Holiday and Teddy Wilson in October, November, December 1936 and January 1937 Mildred Bailey November 1936, with Haven Johnson January 1937. In May 1938 he abruptly said goodbye to Henderson and briefly joined a smaller formation from Stuff Smith at the New York Onyx Club to play in Roy Eldridge's orchestra in August . Webster joined Teddy Wilson's little big band in April 1939 ; there was also studio recordings with Lionel Hampton and Mildred Bailey.

With Duke Ellington (1940–1943)

At the end of January 1940, after the Teddy Wilson Big Band broke up , Webster was hired by Duke Ellington in Boston , who had previously not employed a permanent tenor saxophonist in the saxophone setting. Hence there were no written-out parts for the tenor saxophone in Ellington's arrangements ; Webster was therefore forced to earn his own grades. A few months earlier, the great bassist Jimmy Blanton had joined Ellington, and both Blanton and Webster made significant changes to the sound of the Ellington Orchestra. This epoch of the Ellington Orchestra is called "The Blanton-Webster Band" in jazz research . a. heard in the live recording of the concert in Fargo, North Dakota 1940 and on the compilation The Blanton-Webster Band . Webster played a considerable number of solos during this time on pieces such as "Conga Brava", " Cotton Tail ", "Bojangles", "All Too Soon", "Chloe" and more. He himself later described those years at Ellington as his best. The engagement ended abruptly in August 1943 after, according to his own statements, there had even been public attacks on his part against Ellington. The problems between Webster and the bandleader began as early as the spring of 1943 due to Webster's increasing alcoholism and his accompanying boastfulness. One day Webster showed up too early for a concert, went into Duke's dressing room and, in his absence, put on one of Duke's jackets that were too small for him and therefore tore apart. An incident in early August 1943 brought the barrel to overflowing: it was part of Webster's habit to play Ellington's "The Band Call" on the grand piano at concerts after the break, but on that day he did not want the place for Ellington, who then took the stage release. This tried to push him from the piano chair, which Webster responded with a powerful blow, with the result that Ellington fell from the stage in front of the audience.

As a freelancer in the United States (1943–1964)

Ben Webster (left) with Eddie Barefield , Buck Clayton and Benny Morton performing at Famous Door , NYC, believed to be October 1947.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb

Webster started, for the first time with his own group, at the Three Deuces in New York, and was hired by Woody Herman in November 1943 and January 1944 for some studio recordings. On February 8, 1944, he made his first recordings under his own name, together with trumpeter Hot Lips Page . In 1944 he changed staff frequently in his groups and made a number of recordings both under his own name and with James P. Johnson , Cozy Cole , Sidney Catlett , Walter Thomas ; from May to July 1944 he found work in the John Kirby Sextet. The years 1945 to 1947 were similar; also here he recorded as a sideman with Benny Morton, Walter Thomas, Teddy Wilson , Hot Lips Page, Pete Johnson , Tony Scott , Bill De Arango , Benny Carter , Al Hall and others. In October 1948 he met Duke Ellington, who signed him again (first on probation) for his orchestra. The external circumstances in the Ellington Orchestra had changed since 1943, for example, there was now a second tenor saxophonist in the orchestra, first Al Sears and later Charlie Rouse , so that the freedom for solos for Ben was unsatisfactory; he just didn't have the star status he was used to.

In contrast to some musicians of his generation, he was open to bebop (Charlie Parker played in his group for a short time in 1944), and he found words of appreciation for musicians like John Coltrane , whose concerts in New York's Birdland he attended and with he was photographed several times. Billy Eckstine reports that when Webster first heard him play at Minton's Playhouse , he took the saxophone away from Charlie Parker, saying it would be crazy to play at this high speed, but he was the upcoming star that same night -Tenor touted.

His lack of star status, as well as the deteriorating job opportunities for him in New York, led him to go to Kansas City in the summer of 1949, where things were not much better. At least he was able to take part in several recordings, with Bus Moten , Jay McShann / Walter Brown and Pee Wee Crayton . He found engagements at the Parkview Hotel and the Flamingo Club , occasionally with tenor saxophonist Harold Ashby and also with a group led by Jay McShann , with whom he recorded some real Kansas City-style pieces in October 1951.

In the fall of 1951, Webster and his family moved to Los Angeles , where he found work in a hotel; In December 1951 he took part in a rhythm and blues- emphasized recording session with the orchestra of Johnny Otis and had a recording session under his own name. January 1952 he worked in the recording studios as a sideman with Little Esther Phillips , Pete "Guitar" Lewis, Dorothy Ellis, Dinah Washington . He played the music for the film "Clash by Night" in Benny Carter's orchestra. Carter and Webster played together more often; both then took part in the first session of Norman Granz 'jam session series in June 1952 . After moving to New York in the fall, Granz engaged Webster for several recordings, including with Johnny Hodges and Slim Gaillard . In New York, Webster worked at Snookie's Café, Minton's Playhouse , Flame Melody Room, and Birdland , and with Count Basie at the Apollo Theater and Bandbox.

In jazz criticism, there is agreement that Ben Webster had reached his artistic peak in the early 1950s to the 1960s. After the waning interest in bebop , better working conditions resulted for him again due to the then developing mainstream jazz . Norman Granz signed Webster exclusively for his labels Norgran and Verve . His great musical maturity is convincingly demonstrated in albums such as King of the Tenors (1953), Music with Feeling and Music for Loving (1954) or Ben Webster with Strings (1955). Webster also went on tour with Jazz at the Philharmonic in 1953 and 1954 . As a sideman he took part in studio recordings:

England, Netherlands and Denmark (recent years)

In the early to mid-1960s, under the massive influence of John Coltrane , the jazz scene changed again, and it became increasingly difficult for Ben to get well-paid jobs. The Swedish bass player Simon Brehm had advised him to look for work in Europe, where Ben Webster was popular. In the autumn of 1964 he received the offer to appear as a guest soloist at Ronnie Scott 's Jazz Club in London for four weeks . This was followed in 1965 by engagements in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany ( Berlin Jazz Days on October 30, 1965 with the "Gerry Mulligan All Stars" ) and France (Paris Jazz Festival), almost all of them with local musicians of very different quality. Webster initially settled in Copenhagen and often played with pianist Kenny Drew , bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and the Arnvid Meyer Orchestra. In May 1966 he moved to Amsterdam , which was more central for performances in Central Europe. In July 1966 he performed with Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald at the Jazz Festival in Juan-Les-Pins , France, followed by appearances in the Netherlands, Denmark, England, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Poland, Italy and Germany from 1967 to 1969. In April 1969 he left settled down again in Copenhagen and toured extensively mostly in Scandinavia in the following years.The following years up to his death in 1973 mostly ran after this Mu ster. Highlights were joint appearances with Teddy Wilson, Bill Coleman, Charlie Shavers, Benny Carter, Harry Edison, Oscar Peterson , Dexter Gordon and a last meeting as a guest soloist with Duke Ellington at several concerts in Copenhagen and Sweden in November 1971. His guest appearance was outstanding in 1970 in the Danish film Quiet Days in Clichy (directed by Jens Jørgen Thorsen ), the film adaptation of the erotic novel by Henry Miller. On December 14, 1972, Webster gave a celebrated concert with Oscar Peterson's trio at the NDR Jazzworkshop in Hanover. In the summer of 1973, his health deteriorated due to chronic alcohol abuse and diabetes .

Ben Webster's burial place

He had his last appearance on September 6, 1973 in Leiden / Netherlands; the following night he suffered a stroke and died on September 20, 1973 in Lucas Hospital in Amsterdam. He is buried on Assistens Kirkegård in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen.

A part of his estate (records, tapes, photos, slides, films and memorabilia) is in the jazz archive of the Syddansk Universitetsbibliotek in Odense , Denmark. Ben Webster left no direct heirs; the rights to his recordings were transferred to the "Ben Webster Foundation" in Denmark after his death, which sponsors concerts and jazz events and awards the Ben Webster Prize every year .


Ben Webster (1943)

People who have dealt with Webster describe his personality as "ambivalent". In the literature it is assumed that the reasons for this lie in his origins: He possibly owed his good-naturedness, helpfulness and musicality to his mother, the darker sides such as occasional hot temper and brutality as well as drunkenness are said to have their origins in the father. He had a preference for alcohol since his youth; it has haunted him more or less all his life. Ben Webster was well built and had played a lot of sports when he was young, such as swimming and baseball, and that good physical condition helped him through his busy life. According to many witnesses, he was often unpredictable and prone to violence after heavy drinking. On the other hand, he had a tendency towards sentimentality and could sometimes not hold back his tears, even on stage.

A good insight into his interests outside of his musical existence gives a look at his material legacy. In addition to his music collection (45 78s, 211 LPs, 12 acetates, 137 tapes), 1600 slides, 20 cine films and 700 photos speak for his main private interest. He filmed and photographed cities and landscapes, often through railway and car windows, people on the streets through his apartment windows, and above all animals, e.g. B. Cats in his neighborhood and small and large animals in zoological gardens. He had season tickets for the zoos in Amsterdam and Copenhagen and visited them very often, and the zoos in other cities were also interesting for him.

In his record collection you can find some LPs with surprising topics: a record with speeches by Eleanor Roosevelt dealing with the social reform movement, also one with speeches by Martin Luther King , one with the engine noises of all Mercedes-Benz racing cars and, somewhat less surprising , a vinyl record of the sounds of numerous railroad trains in the United States. The records and tapes show that he had a broad interest in many genres of music: Louis Armstrong , Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and many pianists are particularly well represented , here the dominant Fats Waller and Art Tatum, but also classical ones Music, e.g. B. Stravinsky . The documents found with him show that he was a member of the Freemasons from the 1930s until his death . Another leisure hobby was the game of billiards ; According to eyewitnesses, he mastered the game very well, and according to his own statements - perhaps meant ironically - he was a better pool player than tenor saxophonist.

His varying playing styles

Webster was one of the few saxophonists who had a very personal tone, which can usually be recognized immediately and unmistakably. This applies above all to his performance of ballads and pieces in medium tempo, the almost only breathy tone with broad vibrato that he occasionally practices has become his trademark. But he was also able to change this tone immediately to the hard and brutal. In faster pieces he often made use of a very special growl that was typical for him. His first role model in the tone setting was Coleman Hawkins, later he tried, according to his own admission, to model the tone of Johnny Hodges on his tenor saxophone. In general, one can say that Webster's tone and style of playing is somewhere between Coleman Hawkins with his broad tone and pronounced staccato playing and Lester Young with his smoother tone and legato playing , a successful combination.

Influence on other musicians

In contrast to his time companions Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, Ben Webster was not really a new creator or style designer. Nevertheless there was and is a Ben Webster school. Both Hawkins and Young found a large number of copiers, the style of which was often indistinguishable from the original, with Webster it is different in that his tone is still unmistakable and almost impossible to copy in the perfect sense. As early as the 1940s there were some saxophonists who tried to copy his smoky tone and his playing style, in the following decades it was Harold Ashby , Scott Hamilton and finally Harry Allen, among others . Even Paul Gonsalves learned all the solos of Ben from the Ellingtonzeit heart to play. John Coltrane was interested in figuring out Webster's exact tone formation on the tenor saxophone, which he admired.

Most important recordings

There are no historically important recordings from the 1930s; these only begin with his time at Duke Ellington. Particularly noteworthy here is Cotton Tail with Webster's famous solo and the subsequent saxophone ensemble chorus he arranged , as well as the ballad All Too Soon , which was perhaps his first ballad masterpiece. From the 1950s and 1960s we should mention:

  • Ben Webster Sextet (December 27, 1951) on Mercury
  • "King of the Tenors" (May 21, 1953) on Clef / Verve
  • Art Tatum-Ben Webster Quartet (September 11, 1956) on Verve (Tatum's last recording session)
  • The Red Norvo Sextet (January 18, 1957) on RCA-Victor
  • "Soulville" (October 15, 1957) on Verve
  • Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster (October 16, 1957) on Verve
  • Gerry Mulligan meets Ben Webster (November 3rd and December 2nd 1959) on Verve
  • Ben Webster meets Oscar Peterson (November 6, 1959) on Verve
  • "See You at the Fair" (March 11 and 25, 1964) on Impulse
  • Ben Webster meets Don Byas (February 1st and 2nd, 1968, Villingen (Black Forest))

From his time in Europe 1964 to 1973 there are quite a few good recordings, but only a few that come close to the high quality of the above, especially since relatively few studio recordings were made with him during this time. Worth mentioning are the recordings with the Arnvid Meyer Orchestra from 1965, which he enthusiastically reported to Duke Ellington on the phone: "Right Out of Kansas City".

Discographic notes


Guest appearance in the film by Jens Jorgen Thorsen (DK) "Silent days in Clichy"; 1969


  • Duke Ellington: The Centennial Collection. (Bluebird 82876 60091 2)
  • The Greatest Jazz Films Ever (Idem IDVD 1059)
  • Jimmy Witherspoon / Ben Webster & Jimmy Rushing. (Jazz Casual Idem IDVD 1002)
  • Big Ben in Europe (Eforfilms 2869043) film by Johan van der Keuken / NL 1967 (about Ben Webster in Amsterdam)
  • Ben Webster in Denmark 1965-1971 (Universal 0602517546424)
  • Duke Ellington Masters - 1971. (Quantum Leap QLDVD 0253)
  • "Right Out of Kansas City" Arnvid Meyer's Orchestra 1959–1973 (Sundance Music STUCD 08102)


  • Ben Webster in Hanover 1973 (Impro-Jazz IJ 506)
  • The Brute and The Beautiful. Documentary directed by John Jeremy. (Koch Entertainment, 1992) (110 min)
  • Big Ben. Ben Webster in Europe. Film by Johan van der Keuken / NL, 1967. (Rhapsody Films, 1990) (31 min)
  • Cab Calloway and His Orchestra “Hi-De-Ho”. (Milan Jazz Homevideo 791 286)
  • Jazz From Studio 61. (Video Jazz Masters 010KJ) (25 min) April 1959
  • Ben Webster at the Marquee Club , London, December 1964
  • Teddy Wilson - On European Tour. (VIDJAZZ 24)

James Carter played Ben Webster in Robert Altman's 1996 film Kansas City .


Web links

Sources, notes

  1. a b Joachim Ernst Berendt The Jazz Book Frankfurt a. M. 1973, p. 212
  2. due to its protruding eyes and relatively thin legs
  3. due to his occasional sudden onset of aggressive behavior
  4. Cf. for example a blindfold test with Leonard Feather in Down Beat from November 27, 1958, page 37, where Feather plays pieces by other musicians for him and he immediately recognizes the keys and their changes within the pieces played several times .
  5. cf. Frank Büchmann-Møller, Someone to Watch Over Me , p. 8
  6. See interview by Ben Webster with Les Tomkins ( Memento of March 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (1965)
  7. ^ Frank Driggs , Chuck Haddix: Kansas City Jazz. From Ragtime to Bebop - A History. Oxford 2006, pp. 118f.
  8. ^ Frank Driggs, Chuck Haddix: Kansas City Jazz. From Ragtime to Bebop. Oxford 2006, p. 126f. Mary Lou Williams reports on this in Shapiro, Hentoff Here me talkin to ya , Penguin 1962, p. 285
  9. Cf. Frank Büchmann-Møller, Someone to Watch Over Me , page 37f.
  10. There are a number of recordings from this period, unfortunately Ben had few opportunities for solos, as instrumental solos were a rarity with Calloway.
  11. From 1938 there is only one studio session with Teddy Wilson, but a new sound is noticeable; Webster had bought a new Selmer saxophone.
  12. See Duke Ellington Orchestra # 1935 - The Swingbands
  13. ↑ In addition to the clarinet, Barney Bigard had to play the unpopular tenor saxophone as a secondary instrument, but it was rarely used.
  14. See Frank Büchmann-Møller, Someone to Watch Over Me , p. 98
  15. Cf. Frank Büchmann-Møller Someone to Watch Over Me , pp. 191, 311, 338
  16. Shapiro, Hentoff Here me talkin to ya , Penguin 1962, p. 344, Is that cat crazy? That horn ain't supposed to sound that fast
  17. More precisely, the praise was somewhat ambiguous: Man I heard a guy - I swear he's going to make everybody crazy on tenor (Shapiro, Hentoff Here me talkin to ya , Penguin 1962, p. 344). Parker played tenor saxophone with Earl Hines in 1943.
  18. The resulting album During This Time by Oscar Peterson & Ben Webster 2014 was awarded an ECHO Jazz . see. ECHO Jazz for NDR recording ( Memento from March 6, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  19. Grave number R5
  20. Tony Augarde Dig Ben : “People who knew him said that Ben was a kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde personality: capable of friendly warmth but also fierce temper.” (“People who knew him said that Benn was a kind of Dr The Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality was capable of friendly warmth on the one hand and violent outbursts of temper on the other. ”Cf. also Frank Büchmann-Møller Someone to Watch Over Me , pp. 150f., 283, 304)
  21. These character attributions were reinforced by his great-aunt Joyce Cockrell, who recalled in John Jeremy's film The Brute and the Beautiful that his mother was a very intelligent, calm, lovable person with strong ethical obligations, while his father was coarse and very temperamental responsible for his “ambivalent personality”: “Mayme, his mother, was a very intelligent, quiet, lovely person of high morals. ... And his father was earthy, and he had a high temper, so that was responsible for him (Ben) being a dual personality. Ben could be just as lovely and sweet as he possibly could be, but if you made him angry, he could be violent and almost brutal. "Zit. n. Frank Büchmann-Møller Someone to Watch Over Me , p. 3.
  22. Benny Goodman was even of the opinion that this was no longer a "natural" sound. See Ekkehard Jost , Social faces of jazz in the USA. Frankfurt am Main 1982, p. 136
  23. Webster said of Hodges: “You pick up any record he made, he was always in tune. He showed me how to play my horn. That's what I tried to do - to play Johnny on tenor. " quoted n. Liner Notes for the LP Johnny Hodges at the Sportpalast, Berlin , Pablo Records 2620-102
  24. For example Allen Eager , who then developed a slimmer tone on the west coast. See Ekkehard Jost, Social History of Jazz in the USA , p. 136
  25. Harry Allen later said, “My two all-time favorites, though, would be Ben Webster and Stan Getz. Ben, I thought had the best sax sound of anybody. " Quoted from liner notes for the CD The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet “Hey, Look Me Over” Arbords Records ARCD 19333
  26. ^ Cf. Frank Büchmann-Møller Someone to Watch Over Me , p. 321
  27. The 4-CD box Ben Webster: Big Ben (Properbox 37) 1931–1951 offers a good overview of the first 20 years 1931–1951. The 3-CD box Ben Webster: Complete 1943–1951 Small Group Recordings contains another good compilation . (Definitive DRCD 11189) and the 4-CD box Ben Webster: Stompin 'At The Savoy (Quadromania 222494-444). The 2 CD box Ben Webster: Jazz Ballads (Membrane Music 222532-311) contains a compilation of ballads .
  28. The selection of albums is based on Ian Carr , Digby Fairweather , Brian Priestley : Rough Guide Jazz. The ultimate guide to jazz. 1800 bands and artists from the beginning until today. 2nd, expanded and updated edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2004, ISBN 3-476-01892-X and Richard Cook , Brian Morton : The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD . 6th edition. Penguin, London 2002, ISBN 0-14-051521-6 .
  29. This CD / DVD 2-disc set contains 8 Ellington short films, including five from 1941 with Ben Webster. Webster plays solos on "Hot Chocolate" (Cotton Tail) and "Jam Session" ( C Jam Blues ).
  30. Includes The Sound of Jazz, the popular TV program from December 5, 1957. Ben Webster stars with the Count Basie All Stars on "Fast And Happy Blues," "I Left My Baby," and "Dickie's Dream," and with Billie Holiday in "Fine And Mellow". Also available on Video Jazz 013KJ. (60 min). Also a program with the Ben Webster Sextet in Jazz From Studio 61 (April 1959), but incomplete. The complete program is on VHS, see below.
  31. Jazz Casual , broadcast on January 2, 1962. Also available on VHS from Wea / Rhino.
  32. Contains four films: "Ben Webster 1965" - "Ben Webster & His Music 1968" - "Timme Rosenkrantz Memorial Concert 1969" - "Big Ben 1971"
  33. ^ TV program from November 7, 1971 of two concerts in the Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen. Webster plays solos on Cotton Tail, All Too Soon, and I Got It Bad. Also available on VHS.
  34. Box with 4 CDs and a DVD with seven titles by Arnvid Meyer's Orchestra with Ben Webster and Benny Carter.
  35. 9 tracks with the Oscar Peterson Trio from the NDR Jazzworkshop December 14, 1972. VHS
  36. Contains interviews with several musicians and friends. Ben Webster can be seen in a few incomplete sessions and in different contexts, from Ellington in 1941 to Ellington in 1971.
  37. see above under DVD
  38. Ben Webster cannot be seen, but can be heard as a soloist in the soundtrack of this 1937 film
  39. Ben Webster Sextet with “Mop Mop”, “Chelsea Bridge”, and “C Jam Blues” Jazz 625 - Ben Webster. (VIDJAZZ 10) (30 min)
  40. with the Stan Tracey Trio, “Sunday”, “Chelsea Bridge”, “ A Night in Tunisia ” (plus Ronnie Scott), “Over The Rainbow”, and “ Perdido
  41. Ben Webster only in “Stardust”, recorded in Copenhagen, November 14, 1969
  42. book format, contact:
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on February 15, 2009 .