Music Monday: “I Got it Bad” with Duke Ellington and Ben Webster

Ben Webster began his career with the Young Family and while you can hear a lot of Prez in what he plays, in the end, he is a saxophone giant in his own right. As Stanley Crouch says in Considering Genius:

Webster not only reminded one of a wispy singer or a growling trombone or a cup-muted or plunger-muted trumpet, but his control of color also had the same melodic implications of timbre found in Lester Young, whose alternate fingerings could make a repeated single note successively sound like a different entity, given the lightness or the weight of it on the ear. Yet Webster took that control of texture beyond what Young, or anyone else, had done with it. More than any other saxophonist in jazz, Rooster Ben rivaled the flexibility of the human voice and brought together a synthesis of phrasing rooted in Armstrong, Young, Holiday, Carter, Hodges, and Parker. His was a sense of rhythm as acute as that of Thelonious Monk; it disavowed prolixity in favor of the essences of delay, anticipation, and superbly placed accent, giving the individual phrase a feeling of suspense and victory.

[Crouch, Stanley (2009-04-27). Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz (Kindle Locations 2256-2262). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.]

On the first Monday in December, the teaming of Ellington and Webster seems like just the thing.

Enjoy!

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