The great tenor-saxophonist Ben Webster did not come to Europe for the first time until December, 1964, and he liked it so much that in his last nine years he never returned to the United States. This previously unreleased set, Live at Ronnie Scott's 1964: The Punch, are recordings of some of Webster's first club performances in Europe, and they find him at his most dynamic and exciting. Surprisingly, a couple of the songs ("Confirmation" and "A Night in Tunisia") are bebop classics, but soon Webster would shrink his repertoire down to his 20 or so favorite swing standards. Joined by an inspired rhythm section led by pianist Stan Tracey, Webster is heard throughout in top-form, pushing himself and clearly doing his best to make a strong impression. He plays beautifully on the ballads (including "Stardust") and roars on the faster material, making this an important set both historically and musically -- one well-worth picking up.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow