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Ben Webster: See You at the Fair


Ben Webster is definitely on the short list of the early wave of tenor sax legends along with Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins. Webster and Young were born in 1909; Hawkins in 1904. By contrast, Coltrane and Stan Getz were born in 1926 and 1927, respectively.

The album has a sort of thematic tie-in with the New York World's Fair of 1964-5, 52 years ago. I'm old enough to remember that fair well, and witnessed picture-phone hookups from Disneyland to the Fair (and back) that summer of '64. 

Anyway, there are some interesting side men on the album, particularly Hank Jones and Roger Kellaway alternating on keys. Kellaway became better known for writing the music for "All in the Family" and other TV and film soundtracks. He was only 24 on this album, a full 30 years younger than Webster. 

Anyway, it's a really nice listen, especially for the 99 cents I paid for a pristine copy in a bargain bin. The best thing is the time machine element--hearing analog reproductions of music geniuses born over 100 years ago as though they're in your living room, because that's what those '60s-era Impulse records do.

Edited by JohnnyB
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Digged this one out the other day.


Edited by gorch
broken link corrected
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I spun this (vinyl) while making chili in the kitchen.


love the Rossini overtures. Most of us are only familiar with iconic snippets used for "The Lone Ranger," old cartoons and SIlly Symphonies, and "Prizzi's Honor". I love listening to the complete overtures.The energy that goes with them helps get me up and going to get things done in an empty house. This particular recording is conducted by RIccardo Muti, a native Italian who really gets Rossini. I never before heard such fast tempos for some of the passages, yet, true to the Italian way, the fast passages serve the musical flow, imparting the musical equivalent of a delicate filagree to an inlay. When you hear something in its true native mode it can be particularly enlightening, and Muti really lights up Rossini.

However, the overtures aren't exactly the complete story, either. As full as they are compared to the snippets, overtures themselves are preludes to complete operas, summaries of the melodies that propel the operas that follow. I have a box set of the Barber of Seville opera; I'll have to give it a spin soon.

Edited by JohnnyB
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