Personnel: Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Ben Webster; Mischa Russell, Mac Ceppos, David Novales (violin); Richard Dickler (viola); Rudy Sims (cello); Tony Scott (clarinet); Jimmy Jones , Roger Kellaway (piano); Leroy Vinnegar, Milt Hinton, Ray Brown (bass instrument); Dave Bailey , Mel Lewis, Osie Johnson, Stan Levey (drums); Herb Ellis, Les Spann, Mundell Lowe (guitar); Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone); Hank Jones , Oscar Peterson, Teddy Wilson, Billy Strayhorn (piano); Ed Thigpen, Jo Jones , Louie Bellson (drums).
Liner Note Author: Al Young.
Recording information: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA (03/30/1954-03/25/1964); Fine Sound, New York, NY (03/30/1954-03/25/1964); New York, NY (03/30/1954-03/25/1964); Nola Recording Studio, New York, NY (03/30/1954-03/25/1964); Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA (03/30/1954-03/25/1964); United Recorders, Hollywood, CA (03/30/1954-03/25/1964); Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (03/30/1954-03/25/1964).
Illustrator: Am?lie Hazard.
Photographers: Katherine Holzman Goldblatt; Burt Goldblatt.
Arranger: Billy Strayhorn.
Issued in time for Valentine's Day 2005, Ben Webster for Lovers collects 11 of the tenor giant's best ballads from his Verve period. Readings of "My Funny Valentine," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Where Are You," "Love Is Here to Stay," and "Time On My Hands" are the standouts, but nothing here is superfluous. The only track that should have been included that wasn't is Webster's read of "Chelsea Bridge" from Music for Loving, the single most moving ballad he ever recorded. This set works well for its intended purpose, but it functions just as well as a stellar set of ballads by one of the jazz genre's finest practitioners of the form. ~ Thom Jurek