Though there have been other tenor saxophonists in Doug Webb's life, John Coltrane remains the man closest to his heart.
Webb also plays tenor sax. He was again reminded of Coltrane's impact when he picked up "The Heavyweight Champion"--a newly released seven-CD set that contains all of Coltrane's late '50s recordings for Atlantic Records.
Webb, a Chicago native who grew up in Southern California, found that such pieces as "Giant Steps," "Countdown" and "Naima," which had mesmerized him as a teen-ager, were still "the freshest and most exciting things I'd heard in years."
"They were filled with beautiful, warm feeling," said the 34-year-old Webb, who leads a quartet with Bill Cunliffe (piano), Tony Dumas (bass) and Ralph Penland (drums) on Friday at Chadney's. "The music is so gorgeous and melodic."
Those two words can also describe Webb's improvisations. The horn man, who has played with Freddie Hubbard, Alphonse Mouzon and Sal Marquez, blends the influence of Coltrane with other sax greats, among them Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley and Joe Henderson, into a decidedly moving and musical style.
Listening to Henderson, Webb said, has opened him up and led to more relaxed playing.
"He helped me develop more finesse," said Webb, who can also be heard on Wednesday and Sept. 27 with bassist Kyle Eastwood at Jax.
Talk turned back to Coltrane, and Webb was asked if he had ever heard the maestro in his own playing. "Oh, on good days," he answered with a laugh.
* Doug Webb plays 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday at Chadney's, 3000 W. Olive St., Burbank. No cover, no minimum. (818) 843-5333.
Beasley's Back: Drop by the Baked Potato in North Hollywood on Wednesday and you'll hear some ear-grabbing music from pianist John Beasley's last recording, 1993's "A Change of Heart." The music is a steaming brew of jazz, blues, funk and world music that's both edgy and appealing.
Surprisingly, this is the first steady local presentation of his most recent music since the album's release--Beasley also appears Sept. 27. "I did some gigs at the time but didn't play tunes from the album because it was hard to get guys together to rehearse," said Beasley.
But when he gathered his troops for a three-night engagement at Jazz & Java in Redlands, Beasley found the experience immensely rewarding. "I want to keep this stuff going," he said. "I want to play this music."
The 35-year-old Beasley, a native of Shreveport, La., has played with greats such as Miles Davis and Hubbard. He describes "this music" as "soft but funky but intense. Intense means a lot of tension, a lot of passion, a lot of activity," he said. "Funky is from the street, not just an R&B feel, because Art Blakey and Coltrane were funky. It means heartfelt or soulful, where your heart could be bleeding from joy or sadness, or pumping from excitement."
At the Baked, Beasley works with Steve Tavaglione (saxes, woodwinds), Andre Ford (bass), Alex Acun~a (percussion) and Gregg Bissonette (drums). The leader says he'll play the Fender Rhodes electric piano and that he'll bring "more patience" to his performances.
"I'm not trying to force stuff," he said. "Just because it's my band doesn't mean I have to play long solos on every tune. I'm more willing now to wait for things to happen."
* John Beasley's quintet plays 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. Wednesday (and Sept. 27) at the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood. $10 cover, two-drink minimum. Information: (818) 980-1615.
A More Personal Benn: Tenor man Benn Clatworthy has been spending a lot of his time lately performing with the other artists, from singer Shelley Moore and Latin-jazz violinist Susie Hansen. That makes his quartet appearance on Friday at Jax all the more important.
Clatworthy will offer pieces from his brand new CD, "While My Lady Sleeps." The saxophonist said the album shows that "his voice is becoming more personal, more like my own personal voice."
Individuality is the mark of a solid jazz player, and post-be-bop modernist Clatworthy is striving for that singularity in his solos. "I'm trying to make one note follow the other for the reason it must, saying what I have to say, trying not to copy," he said.
* Benn Clatworthy appears 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday at Jax, 339 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. No cover, no minimum. Information: (818) 500-1604.