The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
Of all these estimable talents, Ben Webster's may well be the greatest. One might call Webster the Clark Gable of the tenors—at once a brute and a hero in his heavy-toned romances with the ballad form—and his saxophone, voluptuously erotic, a physically irresistible woman who wears a little too much make-up. As she slips off her sharps and flats and climbs gently into the first chorus, you are aware of the mascara and rouge before her real beauty strikes you, just as you are conscious of the reedy edges on Webster's slowly vibrated melodic syllables. Not for nothing was one of Webster's finest albums titled Music for Loving.
The Hawkins-Webster era of boudoir saxophone had not grown up in a vacuum. A parallel school of jazz tenor was founded by Bud Freeman, who made his first record date as a leader in 1928, distinguishing himself later in the hands of Red Nichols, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman- Freeman's tonal approach to the instrument was notably different from Hawkins', his phrasing symmetrical, yet emotional. In some respects he was able to translate into tenor sax terms what was known as the Chicago style of early fazz. He was the first and almost only saxo­phonist to be welcomed into the Dixieland clique whose central figure was Eddie Condon; the latter once stated in an interview that saxophones simply didn't belong in jazz, with the sole excep­tion of Freeman. Bud's influence was felt constantly in the solos of Babe Russin, who like Freeman was featured with Nichols,
40; Count Basie, 1941), resident of France since 1946; Corky Corcoran (Harry James off and on since 1941); the late Herschel Evans (Count Basie 1936-9), whose most notable contribution was the Basie record of Blue and Sentimental; the late Herbie Haymer (Red Norvo, 1935-7); Budd Johnson (Earl Hines, 1934-42), who moved on to become a pioneer asso­ciate of the boppers; Vido Musso (Stan Kenton, 1945-7); Flip Phillips (Woody Herman, 1944-6), best known for his frenetic performances with the Norman Granz concert units in later years, but capable of superior ballad work; Ike Quebec (Cab Calloway, 1944-51); Eugene Sedric (Fats Waller, 1936-42), also much admired for his clarinet work; Buddy Tate (Basie, 1939-49); Joe Thomas (Jimmie Lunceford, 1932-47), one of the most inspired and melodic of the great Lunceford soloists; Lucky Thomp­son (Basie 1944-5), whose sound is one of the warmest and most moving of all, and who has enjoyed belated recognition in the last couple of years; Charlie Ventura (Gene Krupa, 1942-6); Ben Webster (Duke Ellington, 1939-43).