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Night Lights Classic Jazz

The Man Before Miles: Freddie Webster

Trumpeter Freddie Webster, who influenced both Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, is one of the great lost-legend stories of jazz.

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Freddie WebsterTrumpeter Freddie Webster is one of the great lost-legend stories of jazz, significant because he influenced both Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, little-known because he recorded only a few scattered solos and because he died at the age of 30 in 1947. We’ll hear the most significant ones, including an anthemic “Yesterdays” with the Jimmie Lunceford Big Band, two sides apiece from sessions with Sarah Vaughan and Bud Powell, “I Fell for You” with Miss Rhapsody, recordings done with Louis Jordan’s Tympani Five, the last and rarely-heard solo that Webster ever recorded (“Perdido”), and many more.

Cleveland jazz historian Joe Mosbrook has produced a mini-documentary about Webster. Special thanks to Mr. Mosbrook for his assistance with this Night Lights program.

Photo from Dan Miller’s Freddie Webster page.

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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I Can Make You Love Me
Sarah Vaughan — 1944-46 (Chronological Classics, 1946)

Notes: Freddie Webster's opening trumpet part only.

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The Man I Love
Bud Powell/Frank Socolow — 1945-47 (Chronological Classics, 1945)
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If You Could See Me Now
Sarah Vaughan — 1944-46 (Chronological Classics, 1946)
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You're Not the Kind
Sarah Vaughan — 1944-46 (Chronological Classics, 1946)
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St. Vitus Dance
Louis Jordan — Let the Good Times Roll (1938-1954) (Bear Family, 1941)
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Saxa-Woogie
Louis Jordan — Let the Good Times Roll (1938-1954) (Bear Family)
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Savoy
Lucky Millinder — 1941-42 (Chronological Classics, 1942)
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How 'Bout That Mess
Lucky Millinder — 1941-42 (Chronological Classics, 1942)
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Rubber Bounce
Sonny Boy Williams — Sonny Boy Williams 1940-1947 (Document, 1942)

Notes: Written by Freddie Webster.

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Reverse the Charges
Sonny Boy Williams — Sonny Boy Williams 1940-1947 (Document, 1942)

Notes: Music-bed break

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Yesterdays
Jimmie Lunceford — Big Band Jazz: the Jubilee Sessions (Hindsight, 1943)
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Reverse the Charges
Bud Powell/Frank Socolow — 1945-47 (Chronological Classics, 1945)

Notes: Written by Freddie Webster.

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September in the Rain
Bud Powell/Frank Socolow — 1945-47 (Chronological Classics, 1945)
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Sweet Georgia Brown
Lucky Millinder — 1941-43 (Alamac, 1943)
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Perdido
Johnny Powell/Willie Smith
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I Fell for You
Miss Rhapsody — Ladies Sing the Blues (Savoy, 1945)
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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Philips, 1963)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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  • http://randysandke.com randy sandke

    Hi David,
    Great show and great work hunting down all these obscure sides. I haven’t been back to Bloomington since my misspent student days at Wilkie Quad. I’d love to visit again some time, and I’ll be sure to let you know.

    All the best, and keep up the wonderful work!
    Randy Sandke

  • David Brent Johnson

    Randy, thanks much–this show was very much a labor of love. Yes, please do let me know if you come through town. Joe Bourne and I are both big fans of your work.

  • Arne Neegaard

    An amazing trumpeter, indeeed!
    And finally I got a chance to listen to “Yesterdays”.
    Thanks for giving us these wonderful and educational series of radio shows.

    From chilly Norway,
    Arne

  • http://www.mcs.k12.ny.us/pages/walderson Dave Alderson

    Great job!! So nice to have this stuff available and out to the general public. I teach junior high school band and jazz and (as you probably already know) these kids have so little knowledge about the cultural time-frame of American music. As a trumpet player this stuff really touches my heart. I’ll be passing it along, too.
    Beautiful, man!

    Dave

  • http://www.lorenschoenberg.com Loren Schoenberg

    What a great show! Thanks for shedding light on this neglected player, David. Keep up the good work.

    Loren Schoenberg

  • http://www.bradgoode.com brad goode

    David,

    This show was truly inspirational. Thanks for turning me on to the version of “Yesterdays’.

  • Arne Neegaard

    An amazing trumpeter, indeeed!
    And finally I got a chance to listen to “Yesterdays”.
    Thanks for giving us these wonderful and educational series of radio shows.

    From chilly Norway,
    Arne

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