So Good: Ben Webster

Chapter four of “But Beautiful,” by Geoff Dyer: I’ve had a love affair with Ben Webster from before this book, mostly from his recordings with Duke Ellington. His lines ache, swoop, then dissolve into breath and vibrato, as if they went up in smoke. To me, he is the sound of late nights.

“If you love jazz, you have to love Ben. You could love jazz and not like Ornette, maybe not like Duke even, but it’s impossible to love jazz and not love Ben.” – Geoff Dyer, “But Beautiful”

“When he played the blues or “In a Sentimental Mood,” you realize how irrelevant the entire notion of sentiment is. He was never cloying, because no matter how soft he played, that growl was always lurking somewhere.” – Geoff Dyer, “But Beautiful”

More video accompaniment to the jazz artists in Geoff Dyer’s “But Beautiful”:

More, because how can I not:


“Over the Rainbow”

w/Oscar Peterson, “I Got It Bad”

“Cotton Tail”

Ben, Rehearsal in Holland, calling out arrangement, tempos etc.

More So Good: