Copenhagen might not be the first place that would come to mind whilst thinking of jazz. The American born music genre has been referred to as the American counterpart to Europe’s classical music and is deeply rooted in the American collective mind. This doesn’t mean that the jazz musicians were just as rooted – many traveled the world, and some even settled in the Danish capital.

American jazz tenor saxophonist Ben Webster. Photo via Iconic Images. American jazz tenor saxophonist Ben Webster. Photo via Iconic Images.

In fact, Copenhagen’s jazz scene was excellent during the 1960’s. One of the Americans who left the US for Denmark was jazz legend Ben Webster. After playing with Duke Ellington in New York during the 1940-1950’s, Webster moved to the Danish city in 1965 and lived there up until his death in 1973.

From left to right: Ben Webster, Holger Laumann, Finn Odderskov, unknown baritone saxophonist, Jesper Thilo and Dexter Gordon. Location: “Jazzhus Tagskægget” in Aarhus (1967-73). Photo via Bruun Auctioneers. From left to right: Ben Webster, Holger Laumann, Finn Odderskov, unknown baritone saxophonist, Jesper Thilo and Dexter Gordon. Location: “Jazzhus Tagskægget” in Aarhus (1967-73). Photo via Bruun Auctioneers.

There, Webster met the Danish saxophonist Jesper Thilo. Thilo was born in 1941 and had been influenced by Coleman Hawkins, as well as by Webster. During the early 1970’s the two saxophonists played together in Arnved Meyer's orchestra.

With this in mind, the Danish auction house Bruun Auctioneers upcoming auction includes a important piece of jazz history – Thilo’s saxophone.

Thilo's Selmer sax. Photo: Bruun Auctioneers. Thilo's Selmer sax. Photo: Bruun Auctioneers.

The saxophone was manufactured at the Selmer factory outside Paris in 1976, and was initially made for Webster, who ordered two Mark VIs saxophones from the factory. The Mark VI was made in low production, and as Webster only needed one, Thilo was given the chance to buy the other.

The saxophone is a Selmer Mark VI, No. M140974. It’s engraved with Thilo’s signature, and this type are famous for it’s fine sound. So, if you’re looking for a piece of jazz history - look no further.
Until then, let’s enjoy Ben Webster.

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Happy bidding!

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