Ben Webster

I used to live at the Cecil Hotel, which was next door to Minton’s [Playhouse]. We used to jam just about every night when we were off. Lester [Young], Don Byas and myself – we would meet there all the time and like, exchange ideas. It wasn’t a battle, or anything. We were all friends. Most of the guys around then knew where I lived. If someone came in Minton’s and started to play – well, they’d give me a ring, or come up and call me down. Either I’d take my horn down, or I’d go down and listen. Those were good days. Had a lot of fun then.

I had the chance to play with Benny ‘The King’ Carter here in Copenhagen for three days in the Montmartre, and two days in Paris. ‘What a Thrill.’ He knows so much music, and he is the only person that I get the shakes trying to play my horn behind or with him (smile). However, it was a ball.

I’ve been back in New York a year and a half now. Before that I was on the West Coast for five years. There’s no comparison between the two. You hear things in New York you don’t hear anywhere else. Unless these guys go out. Quite a few make it out to the Coast. Of course, you can’t stay in New York for ever. You have to move.