Combining two string albums by Ben Webster and one from Ellington
sideman Harry Carney, the two-disc Music With Feeling
delivers over two hours' worth of incredible ballad interpretations. Webster, of course, made his name with many an after-hours gem, and he predictably shines here amidst the lush yet tasteful orchestral charts penned by Ralph Burns
, Gerald Wilson
, and Billy Strayhorn; there are particularly fine renditions here of "Early Autumn" and Strayhorn's misty and mercurial "Chelsea Bridge." Carney, too, is stunning, handling the traditionally cumbersome baritone saxophone with grace and loads of feeling, especially on highlights like "It Had to Be You" and his and Strayhorn's "Chalmeau." Forget all those bachelor-pad compilations and give this collection a spin at your next cocktail party.