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Webster, Ben

Biography

Benjamin Francis Webster (March 27, 1909 – September 20, 1973), a.k.a. "The Brute" or "Frog," was an influential American jazz tenor saxophonist. Webster, born in Kansas City, Missouri, was considered one of the three most important "swing tenors" along with Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. Known affectionately as "The Brute",[1] he had a tough, raspy, and brutal tone on stomps (with his own distinctive growls), yet on ballads he played with warmth and sentiment. Stylistically he was indebted to alto star Johnny Hodges, who, he said, taught him to play his instrument. After Webster's death, Billy Moore Jr. created The Ben Webster Foundation, together with the trustee of Webster's estate. Since Webster's only legal heir, Harley Robinson in Los Angeles, gladly assigned his rights to the foundation, The Ben Webster Foundation was confirmed by The Queen of Denmark's Seal in 1976. In the Foundation's trust deed, one of the initial paragraphs reads: "to support the dissemination of jazz in Denmark". It is a beneficial Foundation, which channels Webster's annual royalties to musicians, both in Denmark and the U.S. An annual Ben Webster Prize is awarded to a young outstanding musician. The prize is not large, but considered highly prestigious. Over the years, several American musicians have visited Denmark with the help of the Foundation, and concerts, a few recordings, and other jazz-related events have been supported. Webster's private collection of jazz recordings and memorabilia is archived in the jazz collections at the University Library of Southern Denmark, Odense.

Featured Tracks




Recordings

Webster, Ben: Dig Ben

Track listing below More than 35 years after his death Ben Webster’s music remains fresh, contemporary and original; his distinctive sound still enchants and engages at each listening. The American tenor saxophonist came to Europe in 1964, at the relatively late age of 55 , and never returned to the States. Webster had previously put off coming to Europe because of his intense fear of flying but when he finally arrived he was soon crowned King of Tenors by the thousands of fans who gave him their love and respect. Although he longed for his musical roots in the US he never went back; not only because of his fear of flying - he liked being in Europe. This 8CD box set has more than 10 hours of Ben Webster's music including previously unreleased tracks. The sessions were recorded mainly during 1964 - 1973 in Europe, mostly in Scandinavia, and include live recordings from festivals, clubs and radio and television broadcasts. They feature Webster at Copenhagen's famous Montmartre club and other Danish locations as well as sessions from his renowned month-long residency at London's R...