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Jazz musician Ben Webster (1909–1973) played tenor saxophone with jazz greats like Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington and Art Tatum.
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Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1909, Ben Webster grew up playing violin, piano and saxophone. He settled on the tenor sax in 1930, influenced by idol Coleman Hawkins. After performing professionally throughout the early '30s, including with famed jazz musician Fletcher Henderson (he also collaborated with Henderson later in the decade), Webster began playing with Duke Ellington. He became Ellington's first full-time leading tenor soloist in 1940. Heavy drinking interrupted Webster's career, but he went on to record with Art Tatum in the 1950s. Webster lived and worked in Europe from 1964 until his death in 1973.
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Saxophonists have been an integral part of the American jazz scene, with the timbres of their chosen instrument often at the center of layered compositions. Coleman Hawkins was the first American jazz saxophonist to become famous during the 1920s-30s. Jimmy Dorsey and Johnny Hodges also had major success with big bands during jazz's heyday as a popular music juggernaut, while Lester Young popularized the West Coast, cool style. Later, soprano and tenor saxophonist John Coltrane created pioneering works that ranged from "sheets of sound" bebop to unbound, rhythmically complex free jazz. And Branford Marsalis has taken his sax to great heights in non-jazz arenas; he's toured with rock artist Sting and served as musical director for The Tonight Show.
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Famous People Named Benjamin 21 people in this group
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