All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Ben Webster

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).

Read more
CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Book Reviews
Read more articles
April 20, 2017

Ben Webster + Ahmad Jamal

July 13, 2015

Ben Webster and Johnny Hodges

September 12, 2014

Ben Webster: London, 1964

January 22, 2014

Ben Webster: Europe, 1967

September 05, 2013

Video: Ben Webster, 1972

August 21, 2010

Ben Webster - "Poutin'" (1964)

March 31, 2009

Ben Webster's Centenary

17 Photos Slideshow




Charlie Parker Charlie Parker
sax, alto
Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins
Lester Young Lester Young
Stan Getz Stan Getz
sax, tenor
Lee Konitz Lee Konitz
sax, alto
Dexter Gordon Dexter Gordon
sax, tenor
Coleman Hawkins Coleman Hawkins
sax, tenor
Gerry Mulligan Gerry Mulligan
sax, baritone
Lionel Hampton Lionel Hampton
Astor Piazzolla Astor Piazzolla