Ben Webster biography
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.