Ben Webster: Plays Ballads


A strong collection of ballads here by Ben during his 1960/70s European period culled from a variety of different albums. Webster caresses a set of hardy standards with his breathy, lyrical sound, slowing down the tempo frequently to breathe out almost a flavoured wisp of air at the end of each selection. Five tracks feature intimate club appearances with just rhythm section and tenor and two selections offer contrast with big band or string backing – “Greensleeves” and “Cry Me a River”.

This is one of three welcome reissues of popular but long out of print LPs from the Storyville label. Sound is excellent on premium vinyl even though some selections had to be made from existing private collector’s LPs. Very welcome; Ben on good form throughout.

Webster (ts); Kenny Drew (p) Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (b), Al Heath (d) and others, 1967-1971.
Storyville 6017007, vinyl