The first track, “All The Things You Are,” sets the tone as Tatum begins with a solo while exploring the song’s structure and theme. Webster then joins in the exploration with his smoky sax sound. While Tatum tends to dominate, Webster’s sax meanders in, out, and around Tatum’s piano to create a dual sound that constantly splits and reunites.
“Gone With The Wind” finds Tatum literally bending the melody with one hand while playing a number of runs with the other. It is an excellent example of his layering technique and creating a two-piano sound. Webster provides a nice counterpoint in support.
Webster would later say that he considered his performance on “Night and Day” one of the best of his career. He assumes more of a dual lead as the purity of his tone wafts over the melody established by Tatum.
There are four bonus tracks which are very interesting. “Gone With The Wind,” “Have You Met Miss Jones,” “Night and Day,” and “Where Or When” are all repeated, but here they are done so with solo performances by Tatum, allowing the listener to compare both versions.
The Album by Ben Webster and Art Tatum is considered one of the best jazz releases of all time. The two geniuses who created this wonderful work are now sadly slipping from the public consciousness. This reissue should restore the luster of their virtuosity and hopefully their popularity as it remains a testament to two of the most influential American jazz musicians of the twentieth century.