Though its importance has steadily declined since the early eighties, the Haarlemse Jazz Club, founded in September 1949, used to be one of Holland's best-known and most important jazz clubs. During the second half of the sixties, when virtually all Dutch jazz clubs had closed their doors in the aftermath of Beatlemania, the H.j.C. was a kind of last resort for a great number of jazz musicians, who used to go and jam there after finishing the commercial gigs with which they had to earn their living.
Also, Holland's first independent jazz label, CAT Jazz Records, originated from the Haarlemse Jazz Club during the same period (in 1966, to be precise). A few years later, in the early seventies, at a time when the jazz fan could usually only hear the real greats in concert halls, the H.J. C. was one of the first Dutch jazz clubs to book famous foreign (mostly American) soloists and bands for simple 'club-dates' on a regular basis. As a result during the next decade jazz lovers from all over Holland came to Haarlem to join the local fans and listen to the likes of Chet Baker, George Coleman, Gil Evans, Bud Freeman, Dexter Gordon, Elvin Jones, Philly Jo Jones, Barney Kessel, the Mel Lewis Big Band, Archie Shepp and Mal Waldron, to name but a few.
One of the first of these concerts, on May 9, 1972, featured tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, accompanied by pianist Tete Montoliu from Spain, Holland's Rob Langereis on bass and German-based American Tony Inzalaco on drums. Uncle Ben being in top form, it certainly was one of the most memorable too and by pure chance it was recorded for the local hospital radio. Three years later these recordings were released on LP as CAT LP-1 I. This LP has been out of print for a number of years now, but demand for it never stopped. With reason, since Ben Webster's music is just as stirring and enjoyable today as it was on that very special evening at the Haarlemse Jazz Club in May 1972. So here it is again, on CD, including the previously unreleased Perdido from the same date. Enjoy. - Rob Heeck