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Sunday, 07 November 2010


Ben Webster's rendition of 'Chelsea Bridge,' a sublime, perfect moment, like a Kertesz photograph.

[Ed. note: "Chelsea Bridge" was a 1941 Billy Strayhorn tune, recorded when Webster was with Ellington. Strayhorn was inspired by Whistler's painting Nocturne in Blue and Gold which actually depicts the Old Battersea Bridge. You can see a later performance (not with the Ellington Band) on YouTube.]


I was waiting your off-topic on jazz music very much. Since "Cool Struttin' from Sonny Clark!-)

I'll go to the music store this week (I have to buy a new Ortofon head first...!-).

Thanks for the rec, Mike. Been looking for something new to write to. I'll check it out.

Incidentally, you can catch "A Great Day in Harlem," about the Art Kane/Esquire jazz photoshoot in 1958, on streaming Netflix now. Well worth watching.

Haven't got any of the above, but "Chelsea Bridge" kicks off "Gerry Mulligan meets Ben Webster" on Verve, which is one of my favourite Jazz albums - Ben's playing is magic.

"Sweets", aptly named. Thanks for the introduction Mike!

I've been looking for an opportunity to thank you for a post you made long ago that included a recommendation for Kenny Dorham (Quiet Kenny). I bought that CD on iTunes and there are a couple of tracks on that CD that are simply magnificent. It has become some of my favorite music. So attached to this post about music (which I'm sure is worthy as well) I say out loud, thank you Mike.

Mike, if you haven't read the biography of Billy Strayhorn ("Lush Life" by David Hadju) you really ought to. Fascinating look at one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century... you will never listen to Ellington the same way again.

The post encouraged me to pull out some vinyl after a day of football overload; and pass on Soulville to revisit Ben and Oscar. Bye Bye Blackbird hit the spot. Thanks.

Mike, mp3va.com has some Ben Webster albums for download at .12 to .15 per track. I just bought Ben Meets Oscar for .84 total for 7 tracks and it's 320bps.


John King,



Mike: You are compiling a top 25 (50?) jazz albums list with a column for checking whether LP or CD is preferrable, right? RIGHT?

I might suggest the Ben Webster-Art Tatum colloboration with the total contrast between Tatum's dazzling technique and Webster's solos that are almost willowy tones. While Webster played in KC with Young, I find his style more derived from Hawkins with a vibrato basic to his playing that was the antithesis of Young's tone. Incidentally, I would recommend Marc Myers jazz blog, jazz wax.com.

Also I am looking forward to getting the recently issued book of Herman Leonard's Jazz Photographs, which I would think you would find interesting. I type this listening to Wardell Gray.

Thanks for posting this Mike.

I'm always encouraged by how many photographers (and visual artists generally) are also jazz fans.

I've always particularly liked Hank Jones playing on this record. Here's a photo of Hank from his last performance at Birdland, where I work, from August 2009:




I have a compilation CD called Gerry Mulligan Meets the Saxophonists (Verve 827436) which includes Ben Webster and Johnny Hodges on all the cuts and Stan Getz, Paul Desmond and Zoot Sims on a few cuts. Mulligan is my favorite all time saxophonist but the others are some of the all time greats. Great listening.

Tom Swoboda

My favorite small 35 mm camera is the Rollei 35 introduced in 1966. The lens collapses into the body for carrying purposes. Shoots full-frame 35 mm film. Zeiss lenses. Now a collectors item.

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