Personnel: Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Oscar Peterson (piano); Ray Brown (bass); Ed Thigpen (drums).
Producers: Norman Granz, Russ Garcia.
Reissue producer: Michael Lang.
Recorded at United Recorders, Hollywood, California on November 6, 1959. Originally released on Verve (6114). Includes original liner notes by Stephen Frostberg and reissue liner notes by Kevin Whitehead.
Digitally remastered by Chris Herles (PolyGram Studios).
On this 1959 date, Webster teams up with the Oscar Peterson Trio (Ray Brown, bass, and Ed Thigpen, drums) and some very luscious, at times brilliant, music is the result. Webster's deeply emotional renditions of "When Your Lover Has Gone" and "In the Wee, Small Hours of the Morning" are testament to Webster's ability to capture the essence of a tune and put his inimitable stamp on it. Indeed, there are very few tenor saxophonists who can truly duplicate Webster's feel for a ballad, nor come up with anything that tops it.
Peterson is in top form on this release as well. He plays ballads with great restraint, sensing that the best way to accompany this tenor legend is by staying out of his way. However, on the one uptempo track, "Sunday," Peterson takes the reigns playing a technically virtuosic solo that harks back to both Art Tatum (his mentor) and embraces modern bebop stylings. Finally, Ed Thigpen's superb brush work adds the finishing touches to what amounts to a truly enjoyable mainstream jazz listen.
Down Beat (9/97, p.54) - 5 stars (out of 5) - "...this record takes the cake ....Webster is riding high....the sound is improved from earlier issues..."