By Frank Buchmann-Moller
For a part century, Ben Webster, one of many "big 3" of swing tenors-along with Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young-was one of many best-known and most well-liked saxophonists.Early in his profession, Webster labored with a number of the maximum orchestras of the time, together with these led through Willie Bryant, Cab Calloway, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson, Andy Kirk, Bennie Moten, and Teddy Wilson. In 1940 Webster grew to become Duke Ellington's first significant tenor soloist, and through the following 3 years he performed on many recognized recordings, together with "Cotton Tail."Someone to observe Over Me tells, for the 1st time, the total tale of Ben Webster's tremendous and occupation. For this finished learn of Webster, writer Frank B?chmann-M?ller interviewed greater than fifty humans within the usa and Europe, and he comprises quite a few translated excerpts from ecu periodicals and newspapers, none formerly on hand in English. furthermore, the writer experiences each recognized Webster recording and movie, together with many deepest recordings from Webster's domestic assortment now not to be had to the general public. Exhaustively researched, it is a a lot wanted and lengthy past due learn of the lifestyles and tune of 1 of jazz's most vital artists.
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Additional resources for Someone to Watch Over Me: The Life and Music of Ben Webster (Jazz Perspectives)
They were good friends. They hung out together ’cause they were both the kind of cats that kind of liked a little roughing up and things like that. Ben would hang out in the whorehouses and drinking all night with Cab. They would wrestle and sometimes it got really hairy there. They would go over with big guys and they’d get to wrestling in the dressing room and one would throw the other one or slap the other one a little too hard, and we thought it was going to wind up in a ‹ght. 25 In April 1936, Calloway was back in New York playing the Apollo Theatre, among other places, before leaving for another long tour to the South in June and July.
The musicians were not hampered by scores, giving them 25 From Kansas City to New York room to concentrate on the musical expression and the beat, giving the band a powerful swing, regardless of tempo. ”18 While the Calloway recordings are mainly of historical interest to us, Ben has much more to offer on these recordings. Ben, Hot Lips Page, Bare‹eld, and Basie do most of the soloing, and Ben performs with far more self-assurance, independence, and enthusiasm. His tone is still rough and unpolished, but he controls it better, expresses himself more lucidly than previously, and displays far more interesting ideas.
And it was easy for Fletcher because he was a natural musician. But it required top players to play that music. Ben had so much trouble, so he worked really hard with the arrangements. ”5 While Ben was welcomed to Henderson’s orchestra and accepted the musical challenge, he was sorely missed in Kansas City, not least by Mary Lou Williams. “Until he had gone I didn’t realize how much I would miss him,” she said. ” SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME 32 “Lester Young replaced Ben [in July 1934], and sensational as he was, never ‹tted the band like that big Webster sound had.