Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,273 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Just found a nice oldie on Youtube with the late great Ben Webster and Charlie Shavers (a great and not so well known trumpet player) jamming a bit around in Denmark back in 1971. By far not the best piece ever by Ben, but the clip gives a good impression of what happened back in those days in Europe with older jazz hero's playing in places like Amsterdam, Paris, London and Copenhagen (where this clip was recorded).

Special attention for some great musicians from Denmark playing in this clip, like the well know bass player Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen, piano player Niels Jurgen Steen and the (for me) very surprising Finn Ziegler on violin, who plays a funny and great bluesy solo at 2:20 (check the faces of the old guys in the background).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsGrbvy871I

Enjoy!!!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,230 Posts
Re: Ben Webster and Charlie Shavers at Cafe Montmartre in Danmark (1971)

yeah mrpeebee, great link!!. Ben plays more jazz just stating the melody than most of us can conjure up in in ten chorus'
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,273 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Fully agree with you mascio.

Another great clip (where Ben plays much better) is one of him and Teddy Wilson, also recorded in Denmark. Check Ben's tears after the piano solo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQVVLAO-9LU
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,228 Posts
There's a lot of high level playing here from everyone involved, but Ben Webster dominates, at least to my ears. He seems very animated during the blues session, seems to be enjoying himself. Maybe it's the company of Mr. Shavers.
Peter, we were discussing 'telling a story'...... Ben Webster is certainly a master of that! What incredible emotion.

Thanks for sharing.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,273 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Indeed Mr. sideC, Ben Webster was one of the great 'story tellers' of jazz. And a very special personallity too.

I remember having seen years ago a great documentary on Dutch television about when Ben lived in Amsterdam (around 1967). It seems to be available on DVD now and I just ordered it via a Dutch website. Here is some more info on this movie:

BEN WEBSTER: BIG BEN IN EUROPE:
Johan van der Keuken, who made this film in Amsterdam in 1967, compresses into 31 minutes the life and times of the expatriate tenor sax giant (1909-73). In addition to poignant moments of Webster playing 'My Romance' and other standards, this odd montage shows him playing along with a Fats Waller record, talking to his Dutch landlady ('She's like a second mother to me.'), reminiscing about Duke Ellington's band ('You never get it out of your system.'), shooting pool, and visiting the zoo. Here is a masterful example of filmmaking that truly penetrates the heart of this big, sad, lonely bachelor.


Above text comes from a DVD descriptions that has the 'Big Ben' movie and a Sonny Rollins concert in Netherlands (Laren) on it. That DVD is on NTSC and PAL format, so suitable for US and Europe. It can be ordered via this link:
http://www.jazzloft.com/p-38179-big-ben-in-europe.aspx

The DVD I just ordered contains several movies of Ben only, recorded in Denmark and Netherlands. I think it contains also above youtube clips and can be ordered via this Dutch website:
http://www.bol.com/nl/p/dvd/ben-webster-in-denmark/1002004005962018/index.html

The 'Big Ben' movie made a big impression on me years ago and contains great information for everybody interested in history of jazz and the person and music of Ben Webster (I start sounding like a sales rep now :mrgreen:).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,228 Posts
Peter, I'm pretty sure I saw the same tv documentary you're referring to. The one I saw had everything you're referring to, plus it had backround about his early years here in the states and how he went over to England to gig and ended up moving to Europe permanently. So we're probably talking about the same thing.

I remember him talking about Duke Ellington. He talked about about Duke "being able to turn the band on and off like a faucet," or something of that nature. I also remember him saying that he had an alto at home, and that he was working with it in private.

But the thing I really remember the most was that near the end, it was a little hard for me to watch. Ben Webster seemed to be like the discription above states, "a sad and lonely man."

But I recommend it highly....it's a very well done documentary.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,273 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I remember about the same things Julian. Can't wait till I get this DVD to see more :).

I found some more interesting information in Ben's biography 'In A Mellow Tone' by Jeroen de Valk. It seems that Don Byas (who also lived in Amsterdam) helpt Ben out finding a room. Ben arrived in May 1966 in Amsterdam and got a room at the 'Waalstraat 77' (first floor). His landlady was Mrs. Hartlooper, an elder lady of 72 who lost her (Jewish) man in WOII and took care of Ben like he was her son. Ben paid 20 dollars a week for the room and nursing. She bought and prepared food for him and took care that he didn't drink too much before his gigs (not always with success). When she asked Ben to go with her and her family to the Amsterdam Zoo 'Artis' he didn't want, but he did it for her ('Ok, ok, for you, for you'!). He was very fond of her and didn't understand why she took so good care of him. Ben was a very complex man.

Did you ever see the pictures taken at his last concert in Leiden (Netherlands)? They are on the site of Bob Rigter, a Dutch tenor player who played that evening on old 'Betsy', the Selmer SBA of Ben. The day after this concert Ben was taken to the Sint Lucas hospital in Amsterdam, where he died on Sep 20th 1973. On that same day Simon Rigter was born, the sun of Bob. Simon is now one of the best saxophonist of The Netherlands.

The music of Ben's last concert in Leiden was released on the CD "Ben Webster - The Holland Sessions", available on Blue Note:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holland-Sessions-Ben-Webster/dp/B0000A1M4U

The wife of Bob Rigter took some pictures on that evening (Sep 6th 1973), you can see them here:
http://www.bobrigter.com/ned17ben.htm (Dutch text, including pictures)
http://www.bobrigter.com/eng4ben.htm (English text, no pictures)

Also just found a FANTASTIC clip of Ben with Don Byas and a Dutch rhythm section, rehearsing for a gig. Check what happens at 2:28, very funny and typical Ben:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEobA-dU1d0

(No idea what Don has on his octave mechanisme on top of his saxophone, check at 3:06 and further!)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,228 Posts
Never saw those last concert pictures, Peter. He looked good. Glad that he went out swinging. Thanks for sharing that.

That was the custom octave key that looked like a snake on Don Byas' Dolnet tenor. Very eye catching.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,273 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Indeed Ben went out swinging :). I acutally like that CD of his last concert (and others of his later period), it has some very strong and powerful playing and you can clearly hear that he enjoyed playing till the end.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top