The Ben Webster Foundation

The mission of The Ben Webster Foundation is to keep the music and the memory of one of the worlds finest tenor saxophonists alive. Ben Webster (27.3.1909-20.9.1973) spent his last years in Denmark. 

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►Check out all known gigs by Ben Webster from 1925 to 1973

Listed by Frank Brückmann Møller, member of the Ben Webster Foundation


See all the Ben Webster prize winners

Then Ben Webster Foundation supports Jazz in Denmark. Since 1977 we have given a yearly prize to numerous of Danish jazz musicians. 

all the prizewinners


New Chairman in the Ben Webster Foundation

New Youngblood Jesper Lovedale, saxophonist and former chairman of Jazz Denmark, takes the lead in The Ben Webster Foundation, while boardmembers Jesper Thilo and Ole Matthiessen are present and Søren Damving clicked the photo where Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen reminds the new chairman, that everything we do in the Foundation has to be in the Spirit of Ben Webster. That has been the credo since 1975. Iversen believes he has been chairman since 1986 or so, and after more than 30 years in the chairman's seat he thinks it's time to slide sideways. Iversen will continue as a member of the board. He was a great friend of Ben Webster during the years Webster lived in Copenhagen. There are rare photoes and several Ben Webster drawings by Klaus Albrectsen in Iversen's impressive Copenhagen appartment, where Ben Webster was a regular guest.

Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2018. A party for the press was held at Hotel Kong Arthur on June 6.

The poster for the 40th edition of Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2018 - designed by Christiane Spangsberg - was unveiled. Anders Laursen and Kenneth Hansen from Copenhagen Jazz Festival were awarded the Ben Webster Honorary Prize with congratulations from Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen. The music was provided by Søren Høst and Jesper Thilo, saxes, Carsten Dahl on piano, Lennart Ginman on bass and David Besiakow, drums. A good time was had by all - including the lovely lady with hat and champagne. Master photographer Gorm Valentin took pictures and Flora from Danish (jazz) Radio P 8 reported on the activities. This year Copenhagen Jazz Festival takes place from July 6-15 and includes 1,300 concerts.
Jan Harbeck and Henrik Gunde receive Ben Webster Prize 2018.
The Ben Webster Foundation selected two great, extroverted younger musicians - pianist Henrik Gunde and tenor saxophonist Jan Harbeck - to share the prestigious Ben Webster Prize that was celebrated on April 1st in Copenhagen at Bartof Station, shortly after Webster’s birthday on March 27th.
Harbeck heard the good news while playing with Snorre Kirk’s band at Paradise Club and showed his gratitude on Facebook, describing how Webster’s music inspired him to pick the sax - and jazz - for his life. Furthermore, Danish newspaper Politiken described Jan Harbeck Quartet’s show at last year’s Copenhagen Jazz Festival in a review by music editor Thomas Michelsen: “The tenor saxophone is the essential sound of jazz. The soul of the genre. Once upon a time we had Ben Webster in Copenhagen to bring that soul to life again. Today we have Jan Harbeck.”
Upon hearing the news, pianist Henrik Gunde was also moved and happy for the prize. He’s busy playing gigs and releasing CDs with his own trio and has been the pianist in the legendary Danish Radio Big Band for a number of years. He is inspired by numerous pianists such as Keith Jarrett, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Kelly, Ahmad Jamal and Erroll Garner, but he also mentions Bach and Carl Nielsen and a number of songwriters.
Click and listen to Jan Harbeck and Henrik Gunde at Copenhagen Jazz Festival
On Sunday March 26 harmonica virtuoso Mathias Heise received the Ben Webster Prize 2017 as the youngest prize recipient ever.

The Prize Concert on Sunday, March 26 was held at Kulturhuset Absalon i Copenhagen, a former church transformed into a wonderful activity house with good acoustics for music. 
Despite his young age, it’s far from the first time Mathias Heise is receiving a prize and some recognition. The harmonica virtuoso had his big breakthrough in 2013 when he won 1st prize on the chromatic harmonica at the World Harmonica Festival in Germany. In 2014 he won the Danish Songwriters Guild’s award for ‘New Jazz Star of the Year’, and in 2016 he received the Danish Crown Prince’s ‘Stardust Prize’. Click for more photoes
An honorable award was also given to saxophonist Jens Søndergaard.

On July 4, 2016, Charles Lloyd was made honorary member of the Ben Webster Foundation
On the 4th of July?, spiritual jazz legend Charles Lloyd was appointed honorary member of the Ben Webster Foundation in connection with his two sold-out concerts at the 2016 Copenhagen Jazz Festival.

Ever since its creation in 1976, the Ben Webster Foundation has acquired distinguished honorary members such asBenny Carter, Mercer Ellington, Harry Edison, Clark Terry, Yusef Lateef, Herluf Kamp Larsen, and most recently Sonny Rollins.

“The last time Charles Lloyd was in Copenhagen, he took the opportunity to praise Ben Webster, calling him one of the most important sax players, and mentioned he was glad to see there was a philanthropic jazz foundation like Webster’s,” says Foundation Chairman Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen.

Now the opportunity has arisen to invite Charles Lloyd to join the Foundation’s honorary membership. Happy to accept the invitation, the occasion was commemorated with a short ceremony at Jazzhus Montmartre, where Ben Webster was THE big name during his eight years in Denmark.

Pianist Heine Hansen Receives 2016 Ben Webster Prize

Heine Hansen was awarded the 2016 Ben Webster Prize by jazz journalist and Ben Webster Foundation member Christian Munch Hansen. The grand event took place at Absalon, Copenhagen’s new culture house in the Vesterbro district. Heine Hansen repaid the compliment with a superb concert featuring Gerard Prescenser on trumpet, Thomas Fonnesbæk, bass, and Alex Riel, drums. The concert was recorded by Radio Jazz for later broadcasting on Radio Jazz and Danmarks Radio’s P8.

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Pianisten Heine Hansen modtog den 27. marts årets Ben Webster Pris 2016. Prisen blev overrakt af jazzskribent og medlem af Ben Webster Fonden Christian Munk Hansen.
September 2013
Check you discography. You won't find it. Previously unreleased recordings.

BEN WEBSTER, tenor sax

Recorded at Pub Trondhjem, Norway, March 17, 1970.
Storyville Records in agreement with the Ben Webster Foundation
A photographer, a fan, a legend...
The library of the University of Southern Denmark has produced a 64-page publication that deals with the library’s numerous collections of jazz material. The book is illustrated with photos by jazz collector/fan Timme Rosenkrantz, jazz photographer Ole Brask and jazz musician Ben Webster. Frank Büchmann Møller, member of the Ben Webster Foundation, is co-author.
Photo: Ole Brask

Read the publication here.
Ben Webster live 1971
Stardust. Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen, February 28, 1971.
Ben Webster ts, Charlie Shavers tp, Niels Jørgen Steen p, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen b, Jørn Elniff dr.
Charles Lloyd has send us this photo of Ben Webster and John Coltrane.
The photographer, Mr. Carvara explains: “Ben Webster had come to see Coltrane play at Birdland. By 1960, when this photograph was taken, Trane was the leading figure and Ben was past his prime, so people feel there's this conflict going on. But in fact they were just ecstatic. It was Trane who was feeling the most emotion because this was his father, this was the great Ben Webster.”
Charles Lloyd meditates at Ben Websters gravesight after he was nominated as Honorary Member of the Foundation last summer.
Drummer Ole Streenberg received the Ben Webster Honorary Prize in 2016

Ole Streenberg repaid the compliment with a concert featuring the fine Italian tenor saxophonist, Emanuele Cisi, Ben Besiakow on piano and Jesper Lundgaard on bass. Later in the evening Ole Streenberg and Alex Riel raised the roof in a terrific drum battle. No winner was announced, but most of those in attendance agreed the encounter ended in a draw.

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Read the new article about Ben Webster and Billie Holiday’s 1956?1956-57? recordings.

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Ben Webster 1928, 1938, 1948, 1958, 1968

With Dutch Campbell And His Sugar Stompers 
1938: Apollo Theatre NYC, Shrine Auditorium LA
1948: From Nov. 6 with Duke Ellington. Nov. 13 concert at Carnegie Hall NYC
1958: Rec. with Eugene Blair voc. Duke's Boys plays Ellington
1968: Holland, Denmark and other places in Europe

On July 3rd, 2011 Sonny Rollins received an honourable membership of the Ben Webster Foundation
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Legendary reedplayer Yusef Lateef and legendary owner of the Montmartre Jazzhus met again in 2009 and became both Honourable Memberes of the Ben Webster Foundation.

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Transcription of Ben Webster's famous solo on Cottontail in 1940
The photo shows Cootie Williams, Russell Procope og Paul Gonsalves visiting Webster in Copenhagen.
Read a new article about the 1956 recording with Ben Webster and Art Tatum
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Read a new article about the newly released recordings with Ben Webster, Ray Nance, Jimmie Blanton 1941
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Webster - Peterson
Hanover 1972

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