Although this wasn t the only recorded collaboration between Gerry Mulligan and Ben Webster, it was clearly the best, and the only one to capture their combined magic without the interruption of other frontline soloists. Their first recorded encounters took place in 1957, and consist of large band sessions: a concert at the Hollywood Bowl from August 22, 1957 with a Jazz at the Philharmonic style line-up including various reeds (this performance, although listed in discographies, is still unissued); and the celebrated recordings for the live TV Show The Sound of Jazz and its subsequent studio album, which also present Ben and Gerry playing along with various other horns. This was followed by the Gerry Mulligan meets Ben Webster sessions. Photographer William Claxton was present at the studio and took various pictures, among them, the one used for the cover of this LP. Years later Claxton would remember the following: Gerry knew that Ben liked booze around when he recorded and he very much wanted to please him to make him comfortable. But Ben got so caught up in the spirit of what was happening that the bottle just sat there. He had maybe one shot; ordinarily he would have drunk the whole bottle. Gerry told me, 'I'm finally recording with one of my childhood heroes.' He was thrilled. He was pretty much in awe of Ben and very much trying to please him with his solos and arranging ideas. After these splendid recordings, Webster and Mulligan s paths would only cross on a live recording made at the Renaissance Room, in Los Angeles, on the night of December 2, 1959 the same day that the second session from Gerry Mulligan meets Ben Webster was recorded. Even though they were the only horns featured in this performance, and the rhythm section of Rowles, Vinnegar and Lewis was the same as it was on the studio album, the band was backing singer Jimmy Witherspoon here, so Ben and Gerry didn t have the space to showcase their superb chemistry as fully as they had done earlier that day in the studio. In any case, this would be their last collaborative recording ever.