Ben Webster’s First Concert In Copenhagen

The music on this album could be called ’a prelude to a love affair’. Why? Because it was the great tenor saxophonist Ben Webster’s first encounter with the country and city he decided to spend the rest of his life in, living, playing and loving. It was also his first day on the continent after a successful time in London, mostly at Ronnie Scotts famous club.

The day in January 1965 when he entered the Danish Radio Concert hall, a wonderful, wooden acoustic architecture from the thirties, began with a short band rehearsal and sound check for the live concert on the Sunday afternoon on the FM radio wave. One hour. His backing would be his new friends, Kenny Drew, Niels Henning Ørsted-Pedersen, Alex Riel… the bass player would from then on be called only Niels by Webster.. and the producer, Børge Roger Henrichsen, a well estimated pianist, bandleader and radio editor, wanted to ‘time’ the concert… thus is Webster playing one chorus of ‘In A Mellowtone’ in two tempi at the Steinway for Roger to get his stopwatch in sync. Of course the concert stretched over time with applause from the full house and since it was live, we only get to hear the first chorus of ‘Cottontail’ at the end. The News had to break in.