Gentle Ben (2018)

Webster, Gershwin, Pinkard, McHugh

Ben Webster

If you want a great example of later Ben Webster, this recording – splendidly reproduces Ben’s glorious, utterly unique rich sound. The audiophile recording in a small theatre directly to a two track tape recorder, is further enhanced through the 2xHD Fusion re-mastering process. 

The title ‘Gentle Ben’ was inspired by the warm and gentle atmosphere created by Ben during this, his last recording session before his death. The bluster has gone and he could caress a theme like ‘The Man I Love’ with tenderness.   One of the paradoxes of Ben was that in person he was quite an aggressive man but in his music he was gentle, seductive and sensual.

Pepe Montoliu is himself a virtuoso but here he is the supreme accompaniment.

If you want a great example of later Ben Webster, this recording splendidly reproduces Ben’s glorious, utterly unique rich sound.

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Ben Webster

Like Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, Benjamin Francis Webster, the third member of the classic tenor triumvirate, spent part of his musical apprenticeship in the ranks of the Fletcher Henderson band. A product of Kansas City, where he was born of February 27th, 1909, Webster came to New York in 1932 with the Bennie Moten band. He followed his stint with Henderson by spells with Willie Bryant, Cab Calloway and Stuff Smith, and then in 1935, began an association with Duke Ellington which continued, on and off, for more than ten years. Webster, the pre-eminent disciple of Coleman Hawkins, has that hallmark that distinguishes the great jazz performers from the simply good – an instantly recognizable style. While adopting the searing blowtorch approach of Hawkins on up-tempo numbers, Webster plays ballads in a highly distinctive way, attenuating the note values and following the sustained notes with a tremolo “wake” of exhalation. It’s a patented websterian flourish. Just as Lester Young made his principal mark with Basie, Webster established his reputation in the Duke Ellington orchestra, earning particular acclaim for his solos on the 1940 recordings of “Cottontail” and “All Too Soon”. Webster had an uninterrupted spell with Ellington between 1939 and 1943 and returned for a few months in 948. In between he freelanced around Kansas City in the fifties, toured with JATP and recorded prolifically for Verve with Coleman Hawkins, Oscar Peterson, Johnny Hodges and Art Farmer, among others. After a period of relative inactivity in the early sixties, he moved to Europe in 1965, settling first in Holland, then in Denmark. He worked in clubs and played concerts around Europe and in 1968 made a memorable date with Don Byas for the MPS label. He died in Amsterdam on September 20, 1973. Described by Barry Ulanov as one of “the warmest and most sensitive of performers”. He will be best remembered as a genuine romantic and a most outstanding interpreter of ballads.

Photo: from album cover Come Sunday

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Gentle Ben (2018)

Webster, Gershwin, Pinkard, McHugh

Ben Webster

Analog Recording Equipment:Nagra-T modified with high end tube playback electronics
Digital Converters:Merging Technologies Horus
Editing Software:Pyramix
Mastering Engineer:René Laflamme - Transfer from Analog Master Tape to DSD 256
Producer:Antonio Armet
Recording location:Casino De L'Alianca Del Poble Nou, Barcelona, Spain on November 28, 1972
Recording Software:Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate:Analog Tape to DSD 256

This album was recorded to Analog tape. It was then transferred to the DSD bit rate indicated above.

Quality & Channel Selection Digitized at Analog Tape to DSD 256
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  • Binaural
  • Stereo
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  • ST+MCH
For albums, lower DSD bit rates (128 and/or 64) are available at no surcharge. This does not apply for DXD selection.
Album Download duration price
2XHDFT1102: Gentle Ben
00:56:11   Select quality & channels above
Tracks
1.
Ben's Blues
Webster
00:09:05   Select quality & channels above
2.
The Man I Love
Gershwin
00:05:38   Select quality & channels above
3.
My Nephew Bent
Webster
00:05:26   Select quality & channels above
4.
How Long Has This Been Going On?
Gershwin
00:08:06   Select quality & channels above
5.
Sweet Georgia Brown
Pinkard
00:06:29   Select quality & channels above
6.
Don't Blame Me
McHugh
00:08:03   Select quality & channels above
7.
Did You Call?
Webster
00:08:43   Select quality & channels above
8.
Barcelona Shout
Webster
00:04:41   Select quality & channels above

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