Enjoying Ben Webster

Spent quite a bit of time with Ben Webster lately. His tender tone combined with his lyrical phrasing is damn irresistible. Furthermore, he has such a distinctive sound on the tenor that one could tantalizing and idolizing all day long. I enjoy listening to Ben Webster while driving. Here are some of my favorite Ben Webster albums to hit the road with:

Soulville. Backing up by the sensational rhythm section, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Stan Levey, Ben Webster digs deep down into the blues in the title track and plays the heck out of ballads like “Lover Come Back to Me.” He also displays his “Boogie Woogie” chops on the piano.

Stormy Weather. He plays the title track and “My Romance” as if he wears his heart on his horn.

Art Tatum/Ben Webster Quartet. The contrast between Art Tatum’s keyboard improvisation behind Ben Webster’s straight melody playing is quite intriguing. Check out the lovely “My One and Only Love.”

Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson. From “The Touch of Your Lips” to “This Can’t Be Love,” this is a fine collection of after-hours ballads played by two jazz giants.

Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster. Bean and Brute on the same records? Need I say more?