This aptly named set was recorded on November 28, 1972, in Barcelona, Spain. Although many of Ben Webster's European sessions suffered when compared to his American ones, this outing is one of the exceptions, due in no small part to the fluid piano work of Tete Montoliu. Supported by a rhythm section of Eric Peter on bass and Peer Wyboris on drums, both Webster and Montoliu have plenty of room to breathe, and the result is a wonderful and pleasant set highlighted by the opening track, "Ben's Blues," and an easy, elegant version of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Webster's trademark breathy tenor sax tone is in full supply here, but the real revelation is Montoliu, who proves to be a marvelous jazz pianist, making Gentle Ben somewhat of an overlooked gem.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. Ben Webster plays live in Harlem – not the uptown scene in New York, but the Dutch city that became a surprisingly strong showcase for American players overseas! The date's got that easygoing style of some of Webster's best late live performances – a laidback rhythm trio, and Ben himself blowing these raspy, blue-tinged notes that are full of feeling – even when in a familiar setting – that quality that can make even subtle handling of a standard pop out with such Webster-like charm! The group features Tete Montoliu on piano, Rob Langereis on bass, and Tony Inzalaco on drums – and titles include "Stardust", "How Long Has This Been Going On", "Sunday", "For All We Know", and "Perdido".
This outstanding DVD, recorded live at the Funkhaus, Hannover for a TV broadcast, on December 14, 1972, not only gives us the opportunity to listen to Webster, but far more rarely, to see him in performance, exquisitely backed by the Oscar Peterson Trio featuring the late Danish bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen & Tony Inzalaco, drums.
Webster and Peterson played together many times, and the tenor saxophonist often said that Oscar was his favorite accompanist.
The complete memorable recordings made by Billie Holiday in 1956-57 backed by a small group including Ben Webster, Harry Edison, Jimmy Rowles and Barney Kessel. A complete Holiday set recorded at Newport during the same period has been added as a bonus. Includes 16-page booklet.
Although an earlier CD added five previously unissued tracks to the original LP Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster, this Verve Master Edition two-CD set adds just about everything else recorded during the two sessions that produced the original record, and also features 20-bit sound. Even though Gerry Mulligan was outspoken against issuing material omitted from his original recordings, it is a treat to hear how the songs evolved in the studio. Webster and Mulligan seem mutually inspired throughout the sessions, and strong performances by pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Mel Lewis are of considerable help.