“If you try all different styles that are in vogue, I think you con yourself. Me, I just stick by my guns. I don’t want to play out of another man’s bag.” – Ben Webster
If you’ve ever sat quietly and listened to the soft, emotional whisper of Ben Webster playing his tenor sax, you’ll understand the rich, emotional complexity in his playing. Claiming to have learned his style from Johnny Hodges (quite evident in his recording of “Blue Moon” with the Ralph Burns Orchestra, 1955), Webster created his own style, which included a growl, a whisper, and swirling emotion, tangled in tempo.
In this painting, I hoped to capture that individual style, and rich melodies unique to Webster. Have a listen to Webster playing one of my favorite tunes, “Tenderly.” Then, hear how his improvisation plays off of the feeling Billie Holiday sets in “Fine and Mellow.”