The Ben Webster Quintet – Soulville (1957) [Analogue Productions 2013]
SACD Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 40:43 minutes | Front/Rear Covers | 1,65 GB
or DSD64 2.0 Mono (from SACD-ISO to Tracks.dsf) > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Front/Rear Covers | 1,62 GB
or FLAC Mono (carefully converted & encoded to tracks) 24bit/48 kHz | Front/Rear Covers | 404 MB
Soulville is one of the highlights of Ben Webster’s golden era. From 1953 to 1959 Webster recorded 10 landmark albums showcasing his swing tenor saxophone, and this album from 1957 is considered a classic. Soulville has it all: there’s cool groovy jazz, a bit of soul, a bit of blues, a sense of longing and a whole lot of romance on this ballad-heavy collection. The quintet in the credits consists of Webster, drummer Stan Levey and the Oscar Peterson Trio.
The by turns grizzled and vaporous-toned Webster really hit his stride on the Verve label. During a stretch from roughly 1953-1959, the Ellington alumnus showcased his supreme playing with both combos and string sections, swingers and ballads – and lurking beneath his blustery and hulking sound were solo lines brimming with sophistication and wit. This 1957 date with the Oscar Peterson Trio is one of the highlights of that golden ’50s run. After starting off with two bluesy originals – the slow burning title track and gutsy “Late Date” – Webster gets to the heart of things on five wistful ballads: Here, his exquisitely sly “Makin’ Whoopee” is only outdone by an incredibly nuanced “Where Are You.” Providing sympathetic counterpoint, Peterson forgoes his usual pyrotechnics for some leisurely compact solos; his cohorts – guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Stan Levey – are equally assured and splendid. And ending the set with flair, Webster takes over the piano for three somewhat middling yet still impressive stride and boogie-woogie-styled numbers (these are his only piano recordings). Newcomers shouldn’t hesitate to start here.
02. Late Date
03. Time on My Hands
04. Lover, Come Back to Me
05. Where Are You
06. Makin’ Whoopee
07. Ill Wind
Ben Webster – tenor saxophone
Oscar Peterson – piano
Herb Ellis – guitar
Ray Brown – bass
Stan Levey – drums
Recorded on October 15, 1957 at Capitol Studio, Hollywood.
Mastered for this SACD by George Marino at Sterling Sound, NYC.