Ben Webster - a rare and wonderful collaboration with MJQ

Ben Webster - a rare and wonderful collaboration with MJQ
Ben Webster – a rare and wonderful collaboration with MJQ

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Ben Webster With MJQ – Live At Birdland – Feb. 21-28, 1953 – WADO-AM

Something not all that rare, but certainly noteworthy this week. An unusual pairing between Sax legend Ben Webster and The Modern Jazz Quartet. Recorded live at Birdland in New York City between February 21 and 28, 1953.

Why it didn’t happen before or again after this collaboration is a mystery, but it’s a wonderful match between the smooth and sultry sounds of Ben Webster and the luxuriant sounds of the MJQ. Before this live audience (which was broadcast), fans are knocked out, and one in particular gets very excited. The aircheck, done by a fan, is a little uneven in places. But that’s a small price to pay for an extraordinary mashup between two giants of Jazz in the 1950s.

This recording has made the rounds, and no doubt fans of both Webster and the MJQ have it in their collections. No official release, but this has popped up around collectors circles and issued by various Jazz societies over the years.

Still, if you haven’t heard this before it’s essential listening, especially on a Sunday.


And while you’re busy immersing yourself in coolness, please consider the site and the archive that brought you this today. As you know, Past Daily and The Gordon Skene Sound Collection, where this and all the other stuff you hear here comes from, is having their Spring Fundraiser. We’re busy passing the hat so we can keep the site up and the archive alive. So if you can chip in, no matter how much or how little, we would be indebted to you. It’s Tax Deductible so we come in handy around Tax time. Click on the link below (Teddy Roosevelt) and make your contribution today, or before the weekend’s out.

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