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  • Ben Webster in Norway
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Ben Webster in Norway

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Amazon.com: 1 review
Solid Live Performance By a Jazz Tenor legend 26 Oct. 2013
By Richard C. Ferris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a 2013 Storyville records release containing eleven tracks recorded live at a small club located in Trondjhem, Norway on March 17.1970. The total playing time is seventy-four minutes.

This time period finds Ben Webster in the twilight of his career. His greatest commercial success and critical acclaim are behind him. He left the United States in 1964 and had eventually taken up permanent residence in Copenhagen, Denmark. Most of his post 1964 work is devoted to appearances at small clubs and jazz festivals throughout Europe. He choose to limit his playing to small musical ensembles primarily with local musicians. Although, occasionally, dates are arranged with other U.S. jazz musicians currently residing in Europe. Essentially, he’d chosen to control his own professional destiny. Ben Webster decides who, where and what he’ll play, truly an admirable situation for any artist.

The quality of playing on this CD reflects his satisfaction with the current status quo. His play list contains numbers composed by Duke Ellington, Rodgers & Hart, George & Ira Gershwin, etc. Material he’s performed a thousand times during the endless tours covering several decades.

What’s exciting about this date is his enthusiasm, energy and freshness with which he delivers the performance. The local Norwegian musicians play with a unique flair and verve. They provide a creative synergy that elevates their playing as well as Webster’s. All the artists are provided ample time to stretch out and demonstrate their solo chops. The audience is very receptive and this fuels the performance quality.

The band delivers fantastic swinging renditions of” I Got Rythmn”,”C Jam Blues” and” Cottontail”. The ballads like”Danny Boy” and “My Romance” are simply a joy to the ears.

It’s a relaxed and skillful set. Based on the occasional comments from Ben, it’s obvious he’s enjoying the audience and the playing of his fellow band mates.

The audio quality is spot on and the six page booklet provides some excellent background on this very special and intimate performance.

Ben Webster was to leave the world about three years after this club date. He was a very special and gifted musician. His playing, during this period, was some of his best work. he was at peace with himself, happy and confident. All these positive qualities are reflected in his performance on this CD.
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