Jazz Profiles-9/4/22-Ben Webster in the 1950s

Sunday, September 4, 2022 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm

Sid Gribetz presents "Ben Webster in the 1950's", a five hour radio program on "Jazz Profiles" on WKCR this Sunday September 4, 2022, from 2-7 PM.

Ben Webster is best known as the tenor saxophone giant from Duke Ellington's famous bands and an ongoing swing legend of the 1940's. In his much later years as a European expatriate, Webster achieved international stardom and respect as an “elder statesman”. Having said this, often overlooked were his contributions to jazz during the 1950's. Then in his 40's, the maturity of playing reached a level of poetry and grace, which, when matched with his brute force and power, produced some stunning music, if not popular acclaim.

Our program will examine this aspect of his career. First up was a return to Kansas City, with Jay McShann and other R&B offerings; next, teaming up in Norman Granz productions for jazz combos with his old swing friends, with Oscar Peterson, and with sensitive strings; as another highlight, rejoining Billie Holiday to provide necessary support for what were the best of Lady Day’s later recordings; and finally, moving to California, for a triumphant reception at the 1959 Monterrey Jazz Festival, leading to partnerships with blues shouter Jimmy Witherspoon and others.

We’ll play representative recordings of these items, along with other great moments, in the re-broadcast of a show originally produced in 2011.