Ben Webster: Gone With the Wind – RSD Reissue
Last time I was in Stinkweeds Records in Phoenix I came across this 180g white vinyl reissue of Ben Webster live in Copenhagen. Recorded January 3 1965 at Jazzhus Montmartre.
I always scan Stinkweeds small jazz section – it’s not their focus (Record High in Phoenix is a better bet for jazz on vinyl) – but, they do stock some cool new titles like this one on occasion. I got lucky. No one was interested in this Record Store Day reissue, I guess.
I dig Webster a lot, though only got into his music in the last couple years. I have the Soulville (Verve, 1957) numbered reissue from Vinyl Me, Please as well.
According to my reading, Webster is considered among the top ‘swing tenors’, alongside greats like Coleman Hawkins. In fact, I’d like to get a hold of their ‘Encounters’ session – also from 1957. I’ve got it in my Roon library, but I’d like a copy on vinyl.
I know he played with Ellington for a time in the 40’s, and then worked in Los Angeles in the 50’s, though I need to learn more. By the 60’s, it seems he was ‘old school’ and no longer hip. He had moved to Europe by the time this record was made, and passed away in Amsterdam in 1973.
This live recording is fantastic. Very open and clear sounding – you know some of these older club recordings can be dark and close. That’s cool too, and I’m sure it’s as dependent on the space as much the engineer. This is not that. The space is captured nicely, with Webster up front and center in the mix. The crowd noise helps to define the room. I get a great image in mind, with drums and bass mixed hard left and right. The piano sits left-center. There’s a very nice dimension to the instruments, with enough air around them to make them feel right, and an immediacy that grabs a hold. This is more apparent with the bass and drums. These are mostly laid back swing tunes- no surprise – but there’s a good energy to the session.
It’s time I dug up more of Webster’s music.