One of the Best!
M. Allen Greenbaum | California | 08/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ben Webster's spacious mellow sound could warm the most jaded; his lush sax is almost a prayer of romance and renewal. This is a superb album, booth because of Webster's playing and his hall of fame associates: Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Coleman Hawkins and Budd Johnson (tenor sax), Ray Brown (bass)-- but wait, there's more!--Jo Jones (drums, Les Spann (guitar) and Jimmy Jones (piano). This 1959 date is remastered very well, except for the somewhat muffled sound of the non-Webster saxes. The Ducal "In a Mellow Tone (20:25)" is quintessential Webster, who opens with his unmistakable regal, luxuriating sound. Although basically a long blues piece, it remains interesting throughout, with exceptional solos by all players.Roy Eldridge's outstanding trumpet is of almost equal importance here, and his influence on both Dizzy and Miles is clear: The former by his blistering high register attacks, and the latter by his muted, beautifully articulated tones. Webster also shows his versatility, floating us along or tearing into it, almost Texas style. Webster may have a trademark style, but he's fluent in several styles. His "Time After Time" is the best version I've ever heard, slowly embracing each note and using a light touch to hit just the right soulful notes. "Young Bean" has a nice hard bop feeling to it, with an excellent solo by Les Spann, and "Budd Johnson closes the CD with some nice work by Johnson.I consider this one of the most enjoyable jazz instrumental albums around. Easy for the jazz newcomer, it's also challenging and virtuosic enough for the longtime jazz fan. A CD that can be savored!"