Soho Nights Vol. 2 (Download)


Ben Webster – Stan Tracey

Recorded January, 1968

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Ben Webster – Stan Tracey

Recorded live at Ronnie Scotts in 1964, here is the second set from tenor giant Ben Webster’s first appearance at the club, backed by Stan Tracey’s ‘in-house’ trio. The second in a trilogy of Ben Webster/Stan Tracey previously unissued recordings it has been digitally re-mastered from the original tape reel. “The music here has lain unheard on the original tape reel for 48 years and has never been released in any format, making it a remarkable rediscovery”. Simon Spillett’s informative liner notes once again put the people and the era into context. The superb recording quality of Volume 2 of Soho Nights perfectly captures the atmosphere of the club in its old home in Gerrard Street with announcements by Ronnie Scott as MC, making it an historic CD not to be missed.


  • Ben Webster – Tenor
  • Stan Tracey – Piano
  • Rick Laird – Bass
  • Jackie Dougan – Drums


  1. Introduction by Ronnie Scott
  2. C Jam Blues
  3. Night in Tunisia
  4. Chelsea Bridge
  5. Poutin’
  6. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
  7. Sometimes I’m Happy
  8. Cotton tail
  9. The Theme
  10. Goodnight from Ronnie Scott

Recorded January, 1968


“What a find! Two live sets at Ronnie Scott’s club, privately recorded in January 1968 and only now brought to light. Webster, then aged 58 and seriously alcoholic, was in the autumn of his career, but he could rouse himself to heights of eloquence on occasion, and he does it here. The tenor saxophone never sounded more expressive. Tracey, leading the accompanying trio, makes a perfect partner, especially on Ellington’s gorgeous ‘Come Sunday’, which is a masterly performance by any standard. The mutual inspiration and depth of feeling, especially in this and other slow numbers, makes this a precious discovery.”

Dave Gelly

The Observer

“Nostalgics for the golden 60s era at Ronnie Scott’s, when the pioneering legends of jazz regularly emerged to the club founder’s wry announcements, will have a moistening of the eye at this previously unreleased classic. But its virtues are such that it has a magnetism for any audience. Swing saxophonist Ben Webster – one of the architects of the tenor sax’s identity (some of his brusque sensuousness is audible in Sonny Rollins today) – was 58, with only five years left, when this live recording was made in January 1968, and often drunk enough to put staying vertical in doubt, let alone playing. But if his violin-like upper-register phrasing, exquisite narrative poise and growling uptempo playing had become fragmented, every sax solo here still envelops you in its whimsical speculations. The recording quality is pretty good (inevitably better for the horn than the piano), and Stan Tracey’s chord-rooted Duke Ellington enthusiasms connect particularly fruitfully with Webster, the former Ellington frontman. Tony Crombie’s irrepressible drumming and bassist Dave Green’s immaculate pulse completes a group Webster audibly relishes. From a squawky and sporadically almost free-sounding Johnny Come Lately, through a startlingly refashioned Come Sunday, two quivering accounts of Danny Boy, and a gallumphing The Jeep Is Jumpin’, it’s a fascinating document of a fading hero finding bursts of energy in the heat of improvisation. Imperfect, of course – but that’s the point.”

John Fordham

The Guardian