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This review is from: Soulmates (Audio CD)
Joe Zawinul, at the time this album was recorded, was the pianist with Cannonball Adderley's group. He was a modern stylist with an affinity for Third Stream music; he would later be a key member of the fusion group Weather Report. That he would record with Ben Webster is somewhat a mystery, but for the most part, the pairing works well.
It's a well-balanced program that the group plays (Richard Davis [b] and Philly Joe Jones [d] round out the quartet, with, another surprise, Thad Jones added on cornet on half the numbers; Sam Jones [b] repalces Davis on Thad's numbers). There are a couple of slow ballad features for Ben's mournful tenor (TOO LATE NOW and COME SUNDAY), and another medium-slow version of TRAV'LIN LIGHT where Ben plays about as sexy as I've ever heard him play. Webster's own THE GOVERNOR is taken up, and Ben puts on his gruff bear suit for this one. Zawinul has a nice solo on EVOL DEKLAW NI (read it backwards), and his composition FROG LEGS has a clever boppish theme.
Thad doesn't get much of a chance to do anything, and you wonder if maybe he was in the right place at the right time and got invited into the proceedings. This album didn't set the world on fire, but it's a respectable addition to both Ben and Joe's discography. Three of the tunes had alternates made available in the LP days, and it's a surprise they weren't put on here. Oh well.