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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
When tenor saxophonist Ben Webster left the U.S. to reside in Europe, it was for two reasons -- opportunity and respect. He was financially more able to make his mark there, as a living legend, in a position where many other African-American jazzmen would follow his lead. This eight-CD box set from the Storyville label documents many recordings he did for the company -- in live club settings, mostly in Denmark, but also England, Finland, Sweden, and Germany. There are studio dates from radio sessions; various small ensembles primarily quartets; two full CDs of big bands in rehearsals or with completed finished product one of the big-band CDs including strings; and ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
When tenor saxophonist Ben Webster left the U.S. to reside in Europe, it was for two reasons -- opportunity and respect. He was financially more able to make his mark there, as a living legend, in a position where many other African-American jazzmen would follow his lead. This eight-CD box set from the Storyville label documents many recordings he did for the company -- in live club settings, mostly in Denmark, but also England, Finland, Sweden, and Germany. There are studio dates from radio sessions; various small ensembles primarily quartets; two full CDs of big bands in rehearsals or with completed finished product one of the big-band CDs including strings; and collaborations with such notables as Teddy Wilson, Buck Clayton, Dexter Gordon, and Clark Terry. Also included are a handful of stateside sessions before he moved, one rare recording of him playing stride piano, duets with bassist Milt Hinton, some drummerless trios, and previously unissued material. What you get is a potpourri of his works including swing standards, a little bop, blues, original jam tunes, and of course the ballads that identify him as a true master of the idiom. Generally, Webster still sounds pretty good, with his full tone and cool persona intact. The time line starts with short American studio recordings of 1959-1962 and East Coast dates in 1963-1964, moving to Ronnie Scott's club in London during 1964 and then to greater Northern Europe from 1965 until his death in Holland in 1973. The downside is that the collection is not programmed with much continuity or cohesion. Tracks leap from year to year with different bands, you don't really hear a progression of his style in Europe, and the club dates have Webster's tenor often "in the red," or distorted. You do hear his fluid technique and slightly extrapolated, witty melody lines, but not the cleanliness of his pure sound. The best sessions, which unfortunately also display the less-than-optimal opportunity to hear Webster himself, are the live dates from the Café Monmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark, a city where Webster resided Amsterdam being the other, and one cut from the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland. Fellow expatriates pianist Kenny Drew and drummer Al Heath join with Webster and the great Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen to form the nucleus of as solid a jazz quartet as one can get. There are also nights where either Rune Carlsson or Alex Riel replace Heath. The brief collaborations with Gordon work extremely well, with Clayton in Antwerp, 1967, on the fifth CD not so much, and alongside Terry there's a bit of magic. Webster worked frequently with local piano-bass-drums combos, too -- British pianist Stan Tracey, Swedish pianist Lars Sjösten, and briefly Camille de Ceunynck being the most effective accompanists. Trumpeters Rolf Ericson and Arne Ryskog are also good foils for Webster. On the seventh CD, the stock chart collaboration with the Danish Radio Big Band provides the most refined and populist music, while the eighth CD with the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra rehearsal sessions is ragged at best, producing only a scant few finished pieces with vocalist Matty Peters and Webster cutting up, but finalizing little polished music. Of the recordings done in the U.S., there are club sets in Providence, RI, in 1963 with the Mike Renzi Trio that have a raw edge production-wise, while the older studio masters or alternate takes of Webster's originals, the blues tune "Poutin'" and bopper "Randle's Island" on the eighth CD with a quartet featuring pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Mel Lewis, are complete, but in need of editing or redoing. The third CD, with 11 tracks, sports the most spirited playing, at Ronnie Scott's with Tracey, bassist Rick Laird, and drummer Jackie Dougan. They breeze through "Gone with the Wind," Charlie Parker's evergreen bop icon "Confirmation" credited as written by Dizzy Gillespie, correctly identified in the liner notes, "Poutin'," the well-done "A Night in Tunisia," and "How High the Moon." The first CD has the Webster-Drew-Heath-Pedersen combo from 1968 playing effortlessly, while the third CD has them in the studio for "How High the Moon," while CD number four features the alternate drummers from 1965-1966, with marked sound improvement, doing great versions of "Pennies from Heaven," "In a Mellotone," and particularly a rousing version of "Sunday." There are recordings from Stampen in Stockholm with several different mixes of American and European rhythm sections, especially 1971 where Sjösten, bassist Red Mitchell, and drummer Fredrik Noren appear, with Ericson and Noren in a quintet from 1969 -- check out their take of "C Jam Blues." The sixth CD has these sides from Stampen as well as Ahus, the precious Clark Terry features including "Satin Doll" and the light blues stomp "Things Ain't What They Used to Be." The Ahus recordings with Wilson, Ryskog, and drummer Ed Thigpen are a bit unsure and tentative. True standout recordings are with Dexter Gordon on CDs five and seven doing Duke Ellington's music in the studio, or jamming at the Monmartre. There are four versions of "Perdido" in the box, the best with Gordon and pianist Thomas Clausen's trio in Flensbourg, Germany; another four of "Cotton Tail," one with big band and strings; three of "Our Love Is Here to Stay"; and several "The Theme" set closers, one at over five minutes. The worst recordings are with the Steen Vig band from 1966, muffled and distant, especially from the guest star/lead horn. The accompanying booklet, with many photos and historical information, notes, and quotes, is priceless. It speaks of Webster's fear of flying and other quirks, his hobbies there's a great photo of Webster shooting billiards, the abject reverence other musicians had for him, and his status as "the hidden king of jazz" in the later years of his life. While not essential or definitive, this box is certainly worth the price, as each CD has nearly 80 minutes of music, and is an item completist fans of Webster will surely want.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/16/2007
  • Label: Storyville Records
  • UPC: 717101860128
  • Catalog Number: 1088601
  • Sales rank: 87,257


Disc 1
  1. 1 Johnny Come Lately (10:48)
  2. 2 Perdido (10:45)
  3. 3 Autumn Leaves (10:42)
  4. 4 Old Folks (9:19)
  5. 5 Mack the Knife (13:25)
  6. 6 Sunday (7:09)
  7. 7 Come Sunday (8:27)
  8. 8 Our Love Is Here to Stay (6:21)
  9. 9 The Theme (2:54)
Disc 2
  1. 1 On Green Dolphin Street (6:34)
  2. 2 Bye, Bye Blackbird (4:43)
  3. 3 Love Come Back to Me (8:27)
  4. 4 Wee Dot (2:03)
  5. 5 Tenderly (5:07)
  6. 6 Sometimes I'm Happy (5:52)
  7. 7 Embraceable You (6:52)
  8. 8 The Theme (0:33)
  9. 9 Sophisticated Lady - Milt Hinton (8:07)
  10. 10 Stridin' with Ben - Milt Hinton (6:11)
  11. 11 All the Things You Are - Milt Hinton (4:17)
  12. 12 I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me - Milt Hinton (6:08)
  13. 13 I Got It Bad - Ben Webster Trio (8:24)
  14. 14 Our Blues - Ben Webster Trio (6:26)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Danny Boy (4:28)
  2. 2 Intro Ronnie Scott (0:47)
  3. 3 Blues in B Flat (5:46)
  4. 4 Stardust (7:42)
  5. 5 Gone with the Wind (7:36)
  6. 6 The Theme (4:14)
  7. 7 Confirmation (7:07)
  8. 8 Poutin' (8:34)
  9. 9 A Night in Tunisia (7:40)
  10. 10 Over the Rainbow (5:12)
  11. 11 How High the Moon (3:38)
  12. 12 Willow Weep for Me (5:18)
  13. 13 Perdido (8:51)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Pennies from Heaven (6:13)
  2. 2 Blues in B Flat (4:52)
  3. 3 In a Mellotone (7:21)
  4. 4 Sunday (4:24)
  5. 5 Cotton Tail (6:21)
  6. 6 Gone with the Wind (8:28)
  7. 7 Cotton Tail (7:05)
  8. 8 My Romance (7:24)
  9. 9 Cotton Tail (5:02)
  10. 10 In a Mellotone (13:07)
  11. 11 How Long Has This Been Going On? (5:08)
Disc 5
  1. 1 C Jam Blues (6:15)
  2. 2 My Romance (4:23)
  3. 3 Our Love Is Here to Stay (5:27)
  4. 4 Avalon (6:27)
  5. 5 Chelsea Bridge (4:14)
  6. 6 Danny Boy (4:19)
  7. 7 How High the Moon (4:55)
  8. 8 How Long Has This Been Going On? (7:04)
  9. 9 B-Flat Blues (8:43)
  10. 10 Medley: How Long Has Thing Been Going On?/Sophisticated Lady - Kenny Drew Trio (8:42)
  11. 11 In a Mellotone - Kenny Drew Trio (10:50)
  12. 12 For Heavens Sake (7:47)
Disc 6
  1. 1 C Jam Blues (9:04)
  2. 2 Don't Get Around Much Anymore (7:13)
  3. 3 The Theme (5:04)
  4. 4 Old Folks (7:27)
  5. 5 Satin Doll (11:16)
  6. 6 Things Ain't What They Used to Be (7:26)
  7. 7 I've Got Rhythm (6:20)
  8. 8 Satin Doll (12:44)
  9. 9 Indiana (8:12)
Disc 7
  1. 1 Things Ain't What They Used to Be - The New Radio Dance Orchestra (3:12)
  2. 2 Cotton Tail - The New Radio Dance Orchestra (3:22)
  3. 3 Greensleeves (2:23)
  4. 4 Rockin' in Rhythm (5:42)
  5. 5 Stompy Jones (5:38)
  6. 6 Cry Me a River (4:13)
  7. 7 Bojangles (4:14)
  8. 8 Perdido - Steen Vig Orchestra (8:17)
  9. 9 Our Love Is Here to Stay - Steen Vig Orchestra (3:33)
  10. 10 Ain't Misbehavin' - Steen Vig Orchestra (5:01)
  11. 11 Mop Mop - Steen Vig Orchestra (5:58)
  12. 12 Our Love Is Here to Stay - Thomas Clausen Brazilian Quartet (5:01)
  13. 13 Perdido - Thomas Clausen Brazilian Quartet (15:13)
Disc 8
  1. 1 Did You Call Her Today (0:53)
  2. 2 Did You Call Her Today (6:03)
  3. 3 Did You Call Her Today (0:48)
  4. 4 Did You Call Her Today (2:17)
  5. 5 Did You Call Her Today (1:45)
  6. 6 Did You Call Her Today (0:24)
  7. 7 Did You Call Her Today (1:02)
  8. 8 Did You Call Her Today (7:04)
  9. 9 Baby It's Cold Outside (2:08)
  10. 10 Baby It's Cold Outside (4:41)
  11. 11 Baby It's Cold Outside (4:10)
  12. 12 Cotton Tail (3:51)
  13. 13 Old Folks (0:20)
  14. 14 Old Folks (7:44)
  15. 15 Old Folks (0:54)
  16. 16 Old Folks (1:18)
  17. 17 Old Folks (1:52)
  18. 18 Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone (4:01)
  19. 19 The Song Is Ended (2:40)
  20. 20 Poutin' (5:11)
  21. 21 Poutin' (4:25)
  22. 22 Poutin' (4:25)
  23. 23 Randle's Island (2:44)
  24. 24 Randle's Island (2:19)
  25. 25 Randle's Island (4:03)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ben Webster Primary Artist, Piano, Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Thomas Clausen Piano
Kenny Drew Piano
Rick Laird Bass
Mel Lewis Drums
Red Mitchell Bass
Jimmy Rowles Piano
Teddy Wilson Piano
Palle Mikkelborg Trumpet
Lars Sjösten Piano
Ed Thigpen Drums
Jesper Thilo Reeds, Saxophone
Stan Tracey Piano
Bo Stief Bass
Atli Bjørn Piano
Palle Bolvig Trumpet
Allan Botschinsky Trumpet
Erling Christensen Reeds, Strings, Saxophone
Clark Terry Trumpet
Jackie Dougan Drums
Vagn Elsberg Trumpet
Rolf Ericson Trumpet
Albert "Tootie" Heath Drums
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Bass
Milt Hinton Bass
Ole Kurt Jensen Trombone
Uffe Karskov Reeds, Saxophone
Perry Knudsen Trumpet
Svend Lundvig Trumpet
Flemming Madsen Reeds, Saxophone
Ole Molin Guitar
Makaya Ntshoko Drums
Ray Pitts Conductor
Hugo Rasmussen Bass
Mike Renzi Piano
Alex Riel Drums
Bjarne Rostvold Conga, Drums
William Schiopffe Drums
Sahib Shihab Reeds
Leroy Vinnegar Bass
Axel Windfel Trombone
Finn Ziegler Strings
Kurt J. Jensen Strings
Ole Kock Hansen Piano
Svend Blankholm Strings
Camille de Ceunynck Piano
Per Espersen Trombone
Henry Henkel Trumpet
Poul Jorgensen Trombone
Anton Kontra Strings
Arne Lamberth Trumpet
Per Ludolph Strings
Sture Nordin Bass
Charlie Pauvels Drums
Hans Schwenger Strings
John Steffensen Conga
Ove Winther Strings
Steen Vig Tenor Saxophone
Borge Madsen Strings
Jens Solund Bass
Aage Bertelsen Strings
Leif Johansson Drums
Bent Juul Nielsen Reeds, Saxophone
Heige Willer-Nielsen Strings
Stanley Carlson Strings
Svend Aage Andersen Strings
Mogens Holm Larsen Strings
Torben Munk Guitar
Freddy Albeck Vocals
Matty Peters Vocals
Holger Bjerre Strings
Bobby Brooks Drums
Nuck Clayton Trumpet
Helmuth Hjorth Hansen Trombone
Bjørn Jensen Guitar
H. Bjerregaard Jenssen Strings
Poul Kelgård Trombone
Torolf Mølgård Trombone
Bob Petterutti Bass
Arne Ryskog Trumpet
Bent Schjærff Piano
Lasse Sjösten Piano
Tony Vaes Bass
Joe Veletri Drums
Rune Carlsson Drums
Ib Glindemann Conductor
Technical Credits
George Gershwin Composer
Sigmund Romberg Composer
Kurt Weill Composer
Irving Berlin Composer
Hoagy Carmichael Composer
Miles Davis Composer
Dizzy Gillespie Composer
Fats Waller Composer
Ben Webster Composer
Irving Mills Composer
Jimmy McHugh Composer
Vincent Youmans Composer
Harold Arlen Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Ned Miller Composer
Coleman Hawkins Composer
Bronislaw Kaper Composer
Andy Razaf Composer
Jerome Kern Composer
Frank Loesser Composer
Harry Carney Composer
Chester Cohn Composer
Ervin Drake Composer
Duke Ellington Orchestra Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Oscar Hammerstein II Composer
Arthur Hamilton Composer
Nancy Hamilton Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg Composer
Lorenz Hart Composer
Ray Henderson Composer
Benny Krueger Composer
Herbert Magidson Composer
Ballard MacDonald Composer
Johnny Mercer Composer
Hans Nielsen Engineer
Mitchell Parish Composer
Jacques Prévert Composer
Vincent Rose Composer
Bob Russell Composer
Sam H. Stept Composer
Billy Strayhorn Composer
Jule Styne Composer
Juan Tizol Composer
Ned Washington Composer
Paul Francis Webster Composer
Niels Jorgen Steen Arranger
Harry Brooks Composer
Arthur Johnston Composer
Willard Robison Composer
Ann Ronell Composer
Anders Stefansen Producer
Joseph Kosma Composer
Mort Dixon Composer
Sidney Clare Composer
James F. Hanley Composer
Dedette Lee Hill Composer
Morgan Lewis Composer
Bent Kauling Liner Notes
Traditional Composer
Henrik Wolscaard-Iversen Liner Notes
Steve Schein English Translations
Claus Albrechtsen Drawing
Frank Büchmann Møller Liner Notes
Frederick Edward Weatherly Composer
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