Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Yawn, Ben Webster
On a more inspirational note, I spent an enchanted hour yesterday listening to Ben Webster Meets Gerry Mulligan, a 1959 summit meeting at which all the stars and planets aligned to perfection. Webster's breathy, emotive tenor is a treat in any context. But he found an ideal jousting partner in Mulligan, with a taste for gorgeous counterpoint and a ruddy tone to match his own. The first cut, "Chelsea Bridge," may be the most beautiful of Webster's many recordings of the Billy Strayhorn classic. But the other ballads are on par, while the midtempo pieces bounce along very nicely, courtesy of the blue-ribbon rhythm section (Jimmy Rowles, Leroy Vinnegar, Mel Lewis). If you don't own this CD, your life has a yawning hole in it, easily patched for a piddling $10.99. Don't delay!