BENNY WATERS, Benjamin 1902 - 1998



   - Swinging Again - CD jp 1037

Benjamin „Benny“  Waters, geb. 1902, startete seine Karriere schon 1918 in der Band von Charlie Miller. Nach einer dreijährigen Studienzeit am Bostoner Konservatorium spielte er in den Jahren bis 1934 mit den damaligen Stars Charlie Johnson, King Oliver, Clarence Williams und Claude Hopkins. 1934 trat er als Nachfolger von Coleman Hawkins in die Band von Fletcher Henderson ein.

Nach Engagements bei Benny Carter, Hot Lips Page, Jimmie Lunceford kam er 1952 mit Jimmy Archer nach Europa. Nach 40 Jahren, in denen er seinen festen Wohnsitz in Paris hatte, kehrte er 1991 wieder nach N.Y.C. zurück. Inzwischen 91jährig und seit einem Jahr erblindet, hat er doch nichts von seinem vitalen, temperamentvollen Auftreten verloren. Die vorliegende Aufnahme zeugt von seiner ungebrochenen Freude am Spiel. Sein scharfes, von großer Virtuosität geprägtes Alt-Saxophonspiel erinnert speziell auf „Blue Waters“ an seine große Zeit mit dem Blues-Barden Memphis Slim, auf dessen  Veröffentlichung "The Memphis Slim Story"  er ebenfalls  das Alt-Saxophon einsetzte sowie an seine Auftritte mit der Roy Milton Band - einer Rhythm and Blues Formation.

Sein großer Humor, seine freundliche doch bestimmte Art mit der er seine Rhythmusgruppe (Thilo Wagner Klavier, Jan Jankeje  Bass und Gregor Beck Schlagzeug) leitete sowie seine Professionalität machen deutlich, daß wir es hier mit einem wirklich großen Menschen und einem Grandseigneur des Jazz zu tun haben. Auch wenn seine Erblindung ihn dazu zwingt, auf seine bekannten wilden Wechsel zwischen seinen vielen Instrumenten zu verzichten, so ist das kein Verlust sondern macht diese Aufnahme umsomehr zu einem Dokument der Zeitgeschich
„Ein ergreifender Augenblick aus dem Leben eines begnadeten Musikers und großen Charakters wurde mit dieser Aufnahme festgehalten“

This recording bears witness to Benny‘s musical effervescence: his alto saxophone playing emotional but never rude, reminisces on “Blue Waters“ of his time with blues greats Memphis Slim and Roy Milton. His great sense of humour, his friendliness and warmth, his controlled inspiration of the rhythm section (Jan Jankeje, bass, Thilo Wagner, piano and Gregor Beck, drums) made  it clear during recording that Benny is a man with rare qualities, a true  Grandsegnor of Jazz.
This recording captures a moment in the long life of a man gifted in music and character. His alto saxophone playing here is a short tribute to a life time in Jazz, a tribute that tells us Benny Water is mellowing well with the years: a fruity wine, but very, very drinkable.

BENNY WATERS ”The Grand Old Man on saxophone” Gudrun Endress on SDR (South German Broadcasting) ”All those who have met Benny Waters personally recently were certainly surprised by the vitality and joie de vivre  that this 92-year-old pioneer of jazz just radiates. Although he has meanwhile lost his sight completely due to cataracts, he regularly tours Europe, in company. He has spent almost four decades in the Old World, and for many German bands this temperamental, life-loving, eager musician was the first contact they had with a representative of the first jazz generation. He really livened up the old-time and swing scene in this country. Not least of all due to a good measure of showmanship he bewitches the audience even today as he plays on the stage. He has a charismatic effect, comparable to that of Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller or Dizzy Gillespie“. A true Grandsegnor of Jazz.

Bill Clinton congratulated Benny Waters on his 95th birthday, the 21st of January 1997 with these words: „Over the course of your long and remarkable career, you have helped broaden the horizons of jazz and have made it one of our most-sought-after international exports. Not just a performer, you are a music pioneer, and I thank you for all that you’ve given us. Have a wonderful celebration!”

Benjamin “Benny“ Waters, born in 1902, started his musical career in 1918 in the Charlie Miller Band. After a three year period of study at the Boston Conservatory in the early  30‘s, he began playing with the stars of the time, Charlie Johnson, King Oliver, Clarence Williams and Claude Hopkins and followed Coleman Hawkins in the Fletcher Henderson Band.

After working with Benny Carter, Hot Lips Page, Jimmie Lunceford, and leading his own formation for several years, he came to Europe with Jimmy Archey in 1952. After fourty years touring mainly as a soloist based in Paris, he returned to N.Y.C. in 1992. Although he  is now 91 years old and blind, his playing has lost none of the youth and vitality with which it was always refreshingly coloured.

Benjamin “Benny“ Waters, born in 1902, started his musical career in 1918 in the Charlie Miller Band. After a three year period of study at the Boston Conservatory in the early  30‘s, he began playing with the stars of the time, Charlie Johnson, King Oliver, Clarence Williams and Claude Hopkins and followed Coleman Hawkins in the Fletcher Henderson Band.

BENNY WATERS    - plays Songs of Love - CD jp 1039

Benny Waters alto-saxophone
Charles “Red” Richards piano
Johnny Williams jr., bass
Jackie Williams drums
Vic Juris guitar

Titles: What is This thing Called Love, You Are the Sunshine of My Live, I'm in the Mood for Love, The Love Nest, When Your Lover Has Gone, Almost Like Being in Love, Always, I Love You, Love Me or Leave Me, Taking a Chance on Love

After his “Swinging Again” jp 1037 recorded in May 1993 Benny Waters returned to the studio with his New York back-up band to record “Songs of Love”.
On this CD Benny's interpretations of familiar and of more rarely played titles are of a magical beauty. This is a Waters that cleverly catches the mood without betraying himself. Restricted to the alto sax by his blindness, he dedicates his virtuosity on this CD to lovers. What we find here is pure, unadulterated Waters. His back-up musicians, with an average age of 85, have been names since the early
days of Jazz. What they offer here is not only Jazz for the mellow hours but it is like a fine wine, not only becoming more valuable with the years but also better.

The world-class pianist Charles “Red” Richards has worked together with Roy Eldridge. Bobby Hackett, Jimmy Mc Partland, Sidney Bechet, Bob Wilbur,  Muggsy Spanier, Wild Bill Davison, has often played Europe, first with the Mezzrow/Buck Clayton Groups, with Saints and Sinners, and the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band. Richards is heard frequently as a solo pianist. Johnny Williams on bass studied violin, bass and tuba for several years at various music schools in and around Memphis. In the early thirties he was already a full-time professional with Billy Kyle in the Memphis Club in Philadelphia. He appeared in Baltimore  with Tiny Bradshaw and in 1936 was called to N.Y.C. to play in Lucky Millinder's Big Band. He has played with Claude Hopkins, Benny Carter, Frank Newton, Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, Teddy Wilson, Edmond Hall, Tab Smith and Johnny Hodges and has toured Europe several times with Buddy Tate and the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band. Drummer Jackie Williams is a real New Yorker, reserved and sensitive, he has played in the orchestras of Earl “Fatha” Hines, Jay McShann, Bobby Hackett and Doc Cheatham.
The guitarist Vic Juris completes the Waters group on the tracks “I’m in the Mood for Love”, “What is this Thing Called Love” and “Almost Like Being in Love”.

BENNY & JAN - Let's Talk About Jazz - CD GJ 2009

As saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer the name Benny Waters is a steady institution on the international Jazz scene. Now, for the very first time the Mainstream specialist has recorded a dance production BENNY & JAN “Let’s Talk About Jazz” and the new rendition of Gospel song “Oh When The Saints Go Marchin’ In..” in which he is heard as saxophonist and rap-singer. Benny Waters was considered to be the world’s oldest Live-Jazz musician.
Benny Waters, born January 23rd, 1902 in Brighton, Maryland died in August 11th, 1998. He was the one who recorded as early as 1927 together with Louis Armstrong’s mentor Joe “King” Oliver.

Red Richards, George Kelly Sextet feat. Doc Cheatham - Groove Move - CD jp 1045