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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
32
Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$12.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on April 24, 2016
I can't say much that has not already been said in some of the other positive reviews here. I am relatively new to older jazz, and have really gravitated towards a lot of the material put out from the mid 50s through mid 60s. This is very easy to listen to, you do not need to be a hardcore jazz enthusiast to appreciate this album.

The only thing I don't really care for is "Blues for Yolande", and I wish they had picked something else other than 2 more takes of that song for the album bonus tracks.
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on September 21, 2017
Anything with Webster or Hawkins is terrific, but hearing both together is even better.
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on December 23, 2014
Another great one
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on November 6, 2014
very nice item!
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on October 8, 2014
Excellent!!!
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on April 8, 2014
This cd is great. The perfect mix of two saxs jamming together. This is definitely a must of the collector.
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on February 6, 2015
good
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on April 17, 2012
I have to thank the jazz enthusiasts at Amazon for pointing me towards some of the most beautifully compelling music I have ever heard. I've had a passing acquaintance with jazz for a long time. But never really understood the genre until I began to buy more records and read what was written at this incredibly important site. I've learned so much. Now, with over 200 jazz cds in my collection, I feel confident enough to offer my own review for the first time. Here it is- BUY THIS FREAKIN CD! No, definitely. Don't read anything else. Don't second guess the purchase. Buy it... Now. I discovered Coleman Hawkins some time ago and have loved him. His tone is uniquely sensual and pure. Exactly what you would expect from lonely "late on a dark evening" street jazz. The man will move you. And to encounter Ben Webster, well there's nothing else to say. It's some of the purest early bebop you will ever hear. Traces of swing but it all belongs to Hawkins. And I promise you will smile through every note. Simply astounding!
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on September 25, 2016
Beautifully recorded and timeless performances, this is Ben's best. Ben's horn is recorded front and center with great bass counterpoint. Oscar Peterson's playing is the perfect compliment-he sets up Ben so effortlessly and yet plays with a real fire. If you own only one Ben Webster cd, this is the one. My only complaint:it's too short. Recorded back when it was just 40 minutes of time for an album. That's too bad.
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on March 29, 2015
This one succeeds on all levels. It's mostly ballads and mid-tempo swingers, and there's no attempt at a cutting contest on any of the tracks.

Hawkins takes the melody for "La Rosita" (1923), "Prisoner of Love" (1931), "Tangerine" (1941), and "Shine on Harvest Moon" (1908), while Webster plays the melodies for "It Never Entered My Mind" (1940) and "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" (1943), and they play the melody in harmony on the slow 6/8 blues "Blues for Yolande," which Hawkins wrote. Also recorded at the same session (but missing from this reissue) was Hawkins' very catchy tune "Maria," where they again harmonize on the melody--it's a hypnotic mid-tempo swinger that joins three 12-bar blues sections with an 8-bar bridge. And there is a short (2:40) take of "Cocktails for Two" also left off of this reissue that is mostly a feature for Ben Webster (possibly recorded with the jukebox market in mind?), but Hawkins does come in with some counter-melodies at the very end.

The standards here are well chosen, and of particular interest to me is the choice of "Prisoner of Love," in the same key and at a slightly slower tempo than Lester Young's version for Verve record the previous year with Teddy Wilson on piano. Also, the arrangement of "La Rosita," with it's slow Latin beat (played on what sounds to me like a single hand drum) and moody and beautiful piano work by Oscar Peterson is a stunner. When Ben Webster comes in for the chorus, playing a harmony line on top of Coleman Hawkins, it sounds like two opera singers in a duet--they breathe and play together perfectly. The tune shifts into swing (I think at this point there's a tape splice, but who cares if it didn't all happen in one take!) and Ben lays down a short, classic bluesy solo of the type that only he and Johnny Hodges are capable of. The tune glides back into the Latin groove with the harmony line of the chorus played by both tenors, and wraps up, having transported the listener with its spell.

Oscar Peterson is (I believe) the only soloist apart from the tenors, and he's restrained and tasteful throughout the session. (For an example of the opposite, see "Anita Sings the Most," where Peterson is constantly playing over Anita O'Day's vocals.) Herb Ellis, Ray Brown and Alvin Stoller are rock solid as a rhythm section, but are not spotlighted in any way, save Stoller's percussion on "La Rosita".

I noticed that the bonus track 8 "Blues for Yolande" is a mono version of the same performance that opens the album, with the producer's comments at the beginning, and the tape ever-so-slightly sped up (not enough to really notice, in terms of pitch, but if you play the two tracks at the same time in an audio editing program, they get noticeably out of synch after 10-15 seconds). I agree with the reviewer who lamented the inclusion of the "breakdown" takes. If this were, say, a Charlie Parker session, and the breakdowns contained nuggets of a solo where never before heard ideas were being tried out, then yes, let's have the breakdowns and listen to some new licks. But in this case, you get three 1-minute starts of a slow blues where there isn't any serious soloing going on, or anything really that you don't hear on the master take by listening to the introduction. Much better would have been the inclusion of "Cocktails for Two" and "Marie" from the same session (and for this reason, you might want to look for the CD "Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster - The Complete Session," which does have this material).

All that aside, the tracks comprising the original album are wonderful, capturing two tenor titans at their mid-career peaks, in good sound, with a sympathetic rhythm section. Record during the same two days of sessions were Ben Webster's "Soulville" and "Coleman Hawkins' "The Genius of Coleman Hawkins". All three are worth seeking out.
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