1.Blues For Yolande
2. It Never Entered My Mind
3. La Rosita
4. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
5. Prisoner Of Love
7. Shine On, Harvest Moon
9. Cocktails For Two
10. Blues For Yolande (mono version)
11. La Rosita (short alternate version)
12. Shine On, Harvest Moon (short alternate version)
13. My Melancholy Baby
14. Where Are You
15. Ill Wind
16. Ill Wind
17. Blues For Yolande (incomplete takes)
Coleman Hawkins - Tenor sax (tracks 1-13, 15, 17)
Ben Webster - Tenor sax (tracks 1-12, 14, 16, 17)
Oscar Peterson - Piano
Herb Ellis - Guitar
Ray Brown - Bass
Alvin Stoller - Drums (tracks 1-13, 15, 17)
Stan Levey - Drums (tracks 14, 16)
Coleman Hawkins was perhaps the first musician to make the tenor saxophone
really sing, and one of the greatest men to follow in his footsteps
was Ben Webster. So it is a treat to hear the two men together on
this new CD which contains the complete sessions they recorded on
16 October 1957. Both men used the hybrid nature of their instrument
(Adolphe Sax's cross between a brass instrument and a reed instrument)
to produce delicate as well as roistering music.
On this album, delicacy predominates - since both players had become
mellower over the years (Hawkins was in his fifties and Webster was
in his late forties). Yet their styles were still distinctive enough
for any listener to be able to distinguish between them. Hawkins is
the more forceful and rounded, as you can hear in the opening Blues
for Yolande, while Webster had by now matured his sound into a
gentler, breathy, rather deeper tone which caressed persuasively.
Coleman Hawkins' fluency is remarkable: still able to produce strings
of notes which, in a way, anticipated the "sheets of sound"
for which John Coltrane later became famous. Ben Webster seems to
choose his notes more sparingly, but both men's styles are a delight
to hear - I almost said "to wallow in", as the experience
is so pleasurable. You can compare their sounds on the two versions
of Ill Wind here: the first by Hawkins, the second by Webster
- the latter characteristically slower than the former.
But most tracks have the two men playing side by side. Just sample
the way they work together in the first take of La Rosita.
Hawkins starts the solos, backed by some nice Latinate drumming from
Alvin Stoller; then the two saxists blend in perfect harmony before
the tempo changes to a swinging four-four for Webster's solo.
As both saxophonists were under contract to Norman Granz, the rhythm
section is Granz's favourite Oscar Peterson Trio with the addition
of drummer Alvin Stoller (Stan Levey plays drums behind Ben Webster
on a couple of the bonus tracks). Oscar Peterson's brilliance as an
accompanist is evident on such tracks as the Hawkins version of Ill
Wind, with melodic punctuations leading into each chord change.
Oscar tends to be less florid when Ben Webster plays the same tune,
leaving us to savour that seductive tone, which is also alluring on
such tracks as Where Are You.
To clarify the discography: the original LP contained only the first
seven tracks. The other tracks are added from the same session, but
tracks 13 to 16 (two from Hawkins, two from Webster) come from the
albums The Genius of Coleman Hawkins and Soulville,
recorded on the previous day. The incomplete takes of Blues for
Yolande tacked on at the end illustrate the difficulties that
can beset a recording session. But we can be very grateful that this
session took place at all.