CD review brief: Ben Webster & Stan Tracey

Soho Nights Vol 2

Back in 1964 pianist Stan Tracey was heading up the house band at the legendary Soho jazz club, then in Gerrard Street.

And of course Ben Webster was a legend, too. Possessor of one of the defining tenor saxophone voices in jazz, he had been a giant of the genre since being a vital member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra in the early 1940s, yet this was his first visit to Europe and to Ronnie’s.

It’s a lively set including C-Jam Blues, Night In Tunisia and Cotton Tail, while Chelsea Bridge and Over The Rainbow allow Webster to show off his breathy, rich romanticism in ballad form.

Though Tracey’s piano is a little far back in the mix, the recording quality is remarkable for its age, and this is far more than a historically significant recording of a classic transatlantic collaboration. It’s simply a lovely listen.

Full marks to Tracey’s son’s label ReSteamed for digging it out of the archives.

Categories: CD review

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