“You're young and growing and I'm old and going. So have your fun while you can…”
Added recently to the Roll of Honour, opposite is the weblog Keep Swinging – a bilingual affair in English and Dutch edited by Hans Koert.
There is a fascinating piece there at present about Ben Webster’s final performance which took place in Lieden, South Holland on Thursday the 6th of September 1973 at De Twee Spieghels.
From Keep Swinging:
"On the 6th of September 2010, thirty seven years after Ben's last concert, four "aged" men joined for a concert at the Twee Spieghels in Leiden to play a tribute to Ben Webster: Bob Rigter, who played at the 1973 concert on Ben's original tenor saxophone; Rob Agerbeek at the piano and the original 1973 rhythm section with Peter Ypma on drums and Henk Haverhoek, on double bass."
Film director Flore Deroose made a recording of the concert which forms the centrepiece of her new film Tribute to Ben Webster.
The first twenty minutes of the film, with subtitles in English, have been posted at the blog. You can read all about the documentary and watch this first part here.
I don’t know if there are plans to post the rest of the film with subtitles but you can see Part Two at the First Flore Production’s own Youtube channel here.
More about Ben’s last years from the excellent Keep Swinging blog can be found here.
Ben’s final performance was captured, fortuitously, by a student on cassette. It has since been made available commercially on EMI/ Blue Note.
I’ve included a picture of the original LP issue here. The susurrant (from Webster’s Dictionary!)tones of Ben’s tenor are invariably experienced best in this medium – but the double album is next to impossible to find.
Copies of the compact disc version – called Ben Webster Holland Sessions -were legion until a few years ago but that, too, is now out of print and has disappeared from sale at the usual online retailers. It can be downloaded, however, from here.
Tenor saxophonist on the tribute concert was Bob Rigter. He was also present at Ben’s last performance. At his own website here, Rigter recounts the experience of being asked to play ‘Betsy’, Webster’s tenor saxophone, for the penultimate number of the night.
Ben Webster died two weeks later on 20 September, 1973. On the same day, Bob Rigter’s son Simon was born.
A professional musician himself, now, Simon’s site can be found here.
And here is the saxophonist with the Dutch jazz Orchestra performing Day Dream.
Ever up and onward…