Monday, February 21, 2011

Ben Webster's Final Concert at the Twee Spieghels: A Tribute

BEN WEBSTER'S final concert at the TWEE SPIEGHELS: A Tribute.
You're young and growing and I'm old and going. So have your fun while you can (Ben Webster)
Hans Koert
Ben Op Zijn Best - Ben Websters laatste jaren (Nederlands) - Ben At His Best: Ben Websters last years in Holland ( English) - Ben Webster's laatste optreden in de Twee Spieghels: Een eerbetoon ( Nederlands) Ben Webster's Final Concert at the Twee Spieghels: A Tribute ( English)Ben Webster lived in Europe since the mid 1960s and found a new home in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, pampered by Mrs Hartlooper who offered Ben a home in the Waalstraat in Amsterdam. She's like a mother to me, Ben sighed in the Johan Van Der Keuken documentary film: Big Ben. The last decade of his life he loved his cinecamera, playing biliards, had his drinks and a gig now and then. He often travelled to Denmark and early September 1973 he had just returned by train from Copenhagen. On Thursday the 6th of September 1973 Ben has a gig in De Twee Spieghels in Leiden .... a concert that would become historical .........
Ben Walenkamp, the manager of the club, remembers that Ben wasn't in good shape: Het optreden van Ben Webster is historisch geworden, niet omdat hij zo geweldig goed speelde, integendeel zelfs, de man was niet in vorm. (= It would become a historical concert, not because Ben's playing, not at all - he wasn't in good shape.) Misschien was hij zelfs niet in staat om te spelen.(= Maybe he was even unable to play.). He was accompanied that evening by the Irv Rocklin Trio, featuring Irv Rocklin at the piano, Henk Haverhoek on double bass and Peter Ypma on drums.
Ben Webster in De Twee Spieghels ( September 1973) ( photo courtesy: Jasperina Rigter)Some sources say that in the venue a group of uninterested "drunk" students ruined the atmosphere, whose noises irritated Ben, but Ben Walenkamp counters this in the book Leidse Jazz Geschiedenis van 1899-2009 by Cees Mentink. .... Some weeks before the Twee Spieghels concert Ben played at another venue, named Minerva, during the Students Introduction weeks of the Leyden University, and that concert had been rather noisy. Ze hebben gewoon twee concerten in Leiden door elkaar gehaald (= They just mixed up two Leiden concerts). Fact is that Ben drunk too much that night and didn't play well. Thanks to Ton Olde Monnikhof, who recorded the concert on a simple cassette recorder, we can still enjoy the concerts. Ben played but a few ballads ( All We Know and My Romance), and half a dozen up tempo standards only like Pennies from Heaven, I Got Rhythm, Just You, Just Me, How High the Moon and finished with Monk's Straight, No Chaser. He was so exhausted that he couldn't play its final chorus. It would become Ben's last public performance.
Irv Rocklin and Ben Webster in De Twee Spieghels ( photo courtesy: Jasperina Rigter)This private recording, released on an 2LP Ben Webster - Last concert (EMI 5C17824964/5) and reissued on a Blue Note 2cd entitled Ben Webster - The Holland Sessions, learn that Ben didn't play well. It would become Ben's last concert - two weeks later he passed away in the Lucas hospital in Amsterdam. Wanneer dit concert niet zijn laatste zou zijn geweest, was het er een om snel, heel snel, te vergeten ( = If this hadn't been his last concert, it would have been one to forget fast, very fast) Ben Walenkamp sighed.
Irv Rocklin and Ben Webster in De Twee Spieghels ( photo courtesy: Jasperina Rigter)
When Ben had finished the last tune Straight, No Chaser he spoke to the audience the historical words: Thank you. Now I will say to all of you youngster what I heard when I was a kid from an old-timer. He said, "Son, you're young and growing and I'm old and going. So have your fun while you can." I repeat: You're young and growing and I’m old and going. So have your fun while you can. Bob Rigter, part of the audience, was allowed to play a tune on Betsy, Ben's tenor sax, the almost legendary instrument, accompanied by the Irv Rochlin Trio. It seems symbolic now, as if he wanted to hand over the job .......

  • Tribute To Ben: f.l.t.r. Rob Agerbeek - Henk Haverhoek - Bob Rigter - Peter Ypma in De Twee Spieghels ( 6 September 2010) ( photo courtesy: Peter J. Visser )On the 6th of September 2010, 37 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. Irv Rochlin was in the audience, but doesn't play anymore. He was born as Irving Rochlin, accompanied Anita O'Day and played with Stan Getz and Johnny Griffin', and lives in Holland since 1971. Now he lives in the States to be near his family. He often accompanied Ben in the good old days. Bob Rigter and his wife Jasperina remember the day that Ben died very well, because at that same day his wife gave birth to their son Simon, now a sought after jazz saxophone player too.
    Like in the good old days: A Tribute to Ben concert in De Twee Spieghels ( Photo courtesy: Peter J. Visser )The concert was recorded by VPRO filmmaker Flore Deroose, and released as a short documentary entitled Tribute to Ben Webster. I'm proud that I can share with you this great documentary, a tribute to one of the greatest tenor saxophone players ever, but also a tribute to the men who still love Ben's music and who are still inspired by it.

    Flore Deroose is a Flemish TV-journalist, originaly a cultural anthropologist, now-a-days the editor of an international film news agency. She made some more film documentaries, but this Tribute to Ben Webster is her first jazz-related project. She can give you more information how to order the DVD, but you can also contact:

Now I will say to all of you youngster what I heard when I was a kid from an old-timer. He said, "Son, you're young and growing and I'm old and going. So have your fun while you can."

Hans Koert
Keep Swinging blog: 5 years online

On the 6th of September 1973 history was written in the Twee Spieghels in Leiden (The Netherlands), although no-one realized that. An old, weary and a bit merry tenor saxophone player Ben Webster, tried to survive in rather noisy circumstances - an evening to forget .... if it hadn't been so special - it happened to be Ben's last public performance. Almost forty years later, on the same day, and the same spot, almost the same rhythm section joined in for a jam to commemorate this historical concert. It is recorded on a great documentary film by a young filmmaker, Flore Deroose entitled A Tribute to Ben Webster. The Keep Swinging blog, five years online these weeks, is allowed to share it with you, as it shows exactly what the blog wants to be - a place to share the fascination of jazz and jazz-related music from the last hundred years ( 1911-2011) in a historical context. If you won't miss any contributions, please, follow it at Twitter or ask for its free newsletter.

RetrospectOscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Jostber said...

Great evocative stories about a jazz giant there, Hans. Thanks for these.
Jostber ( Blindman blues forum)

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Jeffrey said...

Excellent stuff about one of my three favorite tenors of all-time.

Jeffrey W.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to correct some of your text in this blog.
I am Irv Rochlin's granddaughter. He is alive and well and living in the States now to be near his family.

My grandfather was NOT born Irv Craig! He was born Irving Rochlin. He used the stage name of Irv Craig for part of his career. My grandfather was NOT born in Salem!!
The family name is spelled Rochlin, not Rocklin!

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks "granddaughter" for your additions. I've corrected the info in the blogs. You can contact me at keepswinging at live point nl
Keep (it) Swinging

7:34 PM  
Blogger Noreen said...

Glad to know Irv's family is taking care of him, granddaughter. I was the one who set up everything in the states for him. All he did was complain. I contacted his family via email that he needed help. So much for family. Hope you are nearby to help him.

4:15 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home