“Ben Webster”, wrote the jazz historian J. E. Behrend, “was two men in one: in fast pieces he was a musician with a throaty, croaking vibrato, while in slow ones he was a master of erotic and intensive ballades.” In this compilation of both his own works and standard numbers with the promising title of Soulville, “Big Ben” shows the gentle and the rougher sides of his nature.
No session in which black jazz musicians take part would be worth its salt without an own good and honest opening blues number, as the first two tracks on this LP go to show. But in the classic hits Lover Come Back To Me and Makin’ Whoopee too, the very heartbeat of the Age of Swing can be easily discerned. And it’s well worth taking a look at the small print on the cover too. Joining the prominent members of the Peterson trio are Herb Ellis and Stan Levey no less! It’s hardly necessary to add that the sound reproduction on this VERVE recording made in the 1950s is of the very highest quality.