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Ben Webster

Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor

Born: March 27, 1909 | Died: October 20, 1973    

Ben Webster

Ben Webster was considered one of the “big three” of swing tenors along with Coleman Hawkins (his main influence) and Lester Young. He had a tough, raspy, and brutal tone on stomps (with his own distinctive growls) yet on ballads he would turn into a pussy cat and play with warmth and sentiment.

After violin lessons as a child, Webster learned how to play rudimentary piano (his neighbor Pete Johnson taught him to play blues). But after Budd Johnson showed him some basics on the saxophone, Webster played sax in the Young Family Band (which at the time included Lester Young). He had stints with Jap Allen and Blanche Calloway (making his recording debut with the latter) before joining Bennie Moten's Orchestra in time to be one of the stars on a classic session in 1932. Webster spent time with quite a few orchestras in the 1930s (including Andy Kirk, Fletcher Henderson in 1934, Benny Carter, Willie Bryant, Cab Calloway, and the short-lived Teddy Wilson big band)....
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  • In Norway

    Storyville Records
    2013
  • Seven Classic Albums

    Vertigo
    2012
  • The Complete 1960 Jazz Cellar Session

    Vertigo
    2011
  • Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson: The Legendary Sessions

    Vertigo
    2010
  • Soho Nights, Vol. 1

    Resteamed
    2009
  • Centennial Celebration

    Concord Music Group
    2009
  • Ben Webster: The Brute & The Beautiful

    Storyville Records
    2009
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