Archive for the Benny GOLSON Category

Benny GOLSON – New Time New 'Tet 2009

Posted in Benny GOLSON, JAZZ on December 23, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Benny GOLSON – New Time New ‘Tet 2009


New Time, New `Tet: is Golson’s first new studio recording in five years. Revisiting the format of the esteemed Jazztet that Golson founded with Art Farmer in 1960, Golson assembled another stellar ensemble in which he is joined by trumpeter Eddie Henderson, and trombonist Steve Davis, pianist Mike LeDonne, Buster Williams, drummer Carl Allen, and vocalist Al Jarreau who delivers a satisfying performance on Golson’s classic “Whisper Not”. In addition to Golson compositions, this album features Golson’s new arrangements of classics like Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy,” and Sonny Rollins’ “Airegin,”. Classical music is also represented in Golson’s compelling jazz arrangements of works by Chopin and Verde. This recording reveals that master musician Benny Golson, at 80, remains a creative force in the jazz world. Highly recommended.
By D. Berryman.
“New Time, New ‘Tet”, Benny Golson’s first new album in several years and already climbing the charts, features a modern version of one of his favorite forms, the sextet — or as he calls it, the ‘jazztet’.
This CD is his first album since 2004’s “Terminal 1” which followed his appearance in the Steven Spielberg’s movie “The Terminal”.
Joining with the legendary saxophonist to form the group and also help bring back his signature ‘three horn’ sound are trombonist Steve Davis and trumpeter Eddie Henderson, who has the difficult task of emulating long-time Golson collaborator Art Farmer on trumpet and flugelhorn. Filling out the sextet are pianist Mike LaDonne, bassist Buster Williams, and percussionist Carl Allen.
The ten tracks include some of Golson’s own classic pieces, such as “Whisper Not,” here given the added delight of an Al Jarreau vocal, and some newer compositions too.
“Uptown Afterburn” is a tune that would have been completely at home in the bebop era of Golson’s younger days.
Also on board are pieces from other jazz legends, including Sonny Rollins’ classic, “Airegin” and “Epistrophy”, an outstanding and irresistible rendition that composer Thelonious Monk would have loved. Golson’s sax is especially nice here with his breathy style on full display.
Golson draws from some eclectic source material, including an elegant but soulful cover of El DeBarge’s “Love Me in a Special Way,” which features particularly warm solo statements from the leader and Davis.
“It’s interesting to note that Golson has also included a couple of tracks that feature his take on classical music. Good stuff”.
Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson turned 80 years old this past January, and despite his advancing age he’s obviously not about to hang up his axe. His illustrious career began more than 50 years ago, during which time he played with such greats as Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie. Not only has he composed numerous jazz standards like “Killer Joe” and “I Remember Clifford,” his film and television scoring includes well known shows like M*A*S*H, The Mod Squad, and Mission: Impossible. Golson has recently released a new CD, New Time, New ‘Tet, on the Concord Jazz label. The album contains 70 minutes of great music played by a newly assembled sextet.

Some of the best passages on New Time, New ‘Tet are those played by the terrific ensemble of sidemen. Two musicians, in particular, carry quite a bit of the weight: Eddie Henderson on trumpet and Steve Davis on trombone. Henderson was a member of the Herbie Hancock Sextet in the early ’70s. His work throughout this album is exemplary. I especially liked his soloing on the rollicking take of Sonny Rollins’ “Airegin.” His muted work on “L’adeau” is exquisite. Steve Davis played in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers for a short spell, late in Blakey’s career. “Gypsy Jingle-Jangle” gives Davis a chance to stretch out, which he does with great style. These guys really deserve special mention for their contributions.

Another Hancock alumnus, Buster Williams, anchors the group with deft bass playing. His slippery, yet elegant, work really elevates the album’s opener, “Grove’s Groove.” He and drummer Carl Allen share some nice interplay on a fun interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy.” Speaking of Allen, his percussion work forms a solid foundation as he brings endless rhythmic variety to the album. The recently departed trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard employed the young Carl Allen for some eight years – that alone speaks volumes about the quality of Allen’s work. Rounding out the sextet is pianist Mike LeDonne. LeDonne’s lightning quick runs bring excitement and unpredictability to each track on New Time, New ‘Tet.

Jazz adaptations of classical work (“L’adeau,” “Verdi’s Voice”) share space with uniquely arranged jazz standards like the aforementioned Monk and Rollins pieces. Al Jarreau stops by to add his distinctive vocals to Golson’s classic “Whisper Not.” Much of the remaining time is given over to new Golson originals. In other words, eclecticism is the key to this album’s success. Of course, presiding over it all is the vital and adventurous tenor soloing of Golson himself – and he sounds like he’s having an absolute blast. There aren’t many jazz greats of Golson’s era that are still around, let alone sounding this strong. New Time, New ‘Tet is a veritable feast of delectable hard bop from one of the masters.
Benny Golson- Tenor Sax
Eddie Henderson- Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Steve Davis- Trombone
Mike LeDonne- Piano
Buster Williams- Bass
Carl Allen- Drums
01. Grove’s Groove 8:33
02. Airegin 6:45
03. From Dream to Dream 7:34
04. Whisper Not 4:37
05. Epistrophy 8:45
06. L’Adieu 5:39
07. Love Me In A Special Way 7:07
08. Gypsy Jingle-Jangle 7:13
09. Verdi’s Voice 7:25
10. Uptown Afterburn 7:09
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Benny GOLSON Funky Quintet – That's Funky 2000

Posted in Benny GOLSON, JAZZ on December 21, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Benny GOLSON Funky Quintet – That’s Funky  2000
Recorded at 39th Street Music, New York City, 22-23. 12. 2000.


This session harkens back to Golson’s pivotal role in the 1958 edition of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, when the tenor saxophonist was helping to mold the classic form of the hard-bop quintet. In fact, it was Golson, as musical director, who really defined the Messengers’ ethos and sound. He was also the man who introduced Blakey to those other young Philadelphians, trumpeter Lee Morgan and pianist Bobby Timmons. He’s joined here by another significant voice of the style, trumpeter Nat Adderley in one of his last recording sessions before passing away in early 2000, and a first-rate rhythm section made up of younger veterans: pianist Monty Alexander, bassist Ray Drummond, and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith. The band pumps vigorous life into tunes that helped define hard bop and soul jazz–Golson’s “Blues March,” Adderley’s “Work Song,” Timmons’s “Moanin,'” and Morgan’s “Sidewinder”–as well as two versions of Kurt Weill’s “Mack the Knife,” one funky, one boppish. It’s a band that’s both hard driving and playful, from Alexander’s reggae touches to Drummond quoting “Wade in the Water” during his solo on “Moanin’.” The inspiration shows in Golson’s solos, from coiling, quicksilver bop to the deeply felt blues he serves up on his new tune “Mississippi Windows.” By Stuart Broomer.
Saxophonist/composer/arranger Benny Golson, though an unfamiliar name, is practically a jazz institution. Golson wrote such jazz standards as “I Remember Clifford” and “Whisper Not.” He’s played with, or arranged for, countless jazz and non-jazz performers, among them Dizzy Gillespie, Eric Dolphy, Art Blakey, Eric Burdon, Connie Francis, Quincy Jones and Art Farmer.

With THAT’S FUNKY, the emphasis is on Golson’s rich, robust, blues-inflected tenor saxophone. He also pays tribute to the funkier side of the jazz tradition, sometimes referred to as “soul jazz.” Lee Morgan’s hit “Sidewinder” gets a loose-limbed, swaggering treatment, with a bristling solo from trumpeter Nat Adderley, whose own classic “Work Song” gets a similar treatment. Here, Golson’s sly, wild tones prove he’s not stuck in the pre-1960s past. The trio of Monty Alexander, Ray Drummond, and Marvin “Smitty” Smith keep the groove going throughout with tight, tasty, rippling playing. Each tune runs an average of seven minutes, enough for everyone to stretch, yet nobody rambles, and every note counts. THAT’S FUNKY is 50 minutes of first-rate mainstream, timeless jazz.
In my experience of some thirty years of writing about and recording musicians, BENNY GOLSON stands out as a man whose musical skills and capacities are extraordinarily wide-ranging. He is consistently resourceful in terms of creativity, as well as as being a thorough professional. His conscientiousness, the high standards he always sets for himself, and his total reliability are qualities that account for the prominence he has attained – along with, of course, his prodigious musicianship as a composer, arranger and performer. Benny Golson continually impresses me with the freshness of his musical conceptions. But I am never surprised that they always work exactly as he says they will, because they always do.”
By Nat Hentoff.
Jazz Saxophonist & Composer Benny Golson and his all-star cohorts (Nat Adderley, Monty Alexander, Ray Drummond, & Marvin Smitty Smith) capture the heart of Funk on this stirring CD Benny Golon: That s Funky (also available as MP3 Download). Golson has put together a menu of tunes that represent some of Jazz music’s greatest hits, creating some of the Funkiest moments of the twentieth century. When most people think of Funk, it’s generally associated with R&B stars such as George Clinton (and his Parliament / Funkadelic bands), or the Godfather of Soul, James Brown (whose former band members include Funk Royalty such as Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley). Well before the Clinton’s and Brown’s of music made their presence felt during the 60’s, Hardbop Grandpop Horace Silver was the first to pull funk out of the closet and call it by name with his classic Opus De Funk during the 50’s. In a sense, this action made it acceptable for this blues based sensibility to be recognized in Jazz in a formal way. Silver wasn’t the only voice laying down this sound, coaxing fans out of their seats to joyous romping and nodding their heads to funky rhythms. There were other architects who helped to build this brand of music and spread the funky word. Among them is Philadelphia born and bred saxophonist Benny Golson. Benny Golson: That’s Funky is not only a testament to the authors of some of the finest Jazz compositions, but also a recording of some of the funkiest performances of the past Century.
For a straight ahead jazz album (played by masters of the genre) this IS very funky. Before Bootsy was playing for James Brown and before Larry Graham was slappin and poppin; before there was fusion, these guys, or should I say LEGENDS were playing some funky [stuff]. Excellent blowing on some great standards. Ray Drummon, especially, is putting on a clinic on how to lay masterful grooves!
Nat Adderley- (Trumpet)
Benny Golson- (Tenor Sax)
Monty Alexander- (Piano)
Ray Drummond- (Bass)
Marvin “Smitty” Smith- (Drums)
01. Mack The Knife (Funky version) (K. Weill, B. Brecht, M. Blitzstein) (5:38)
02. Moanin’ (B. Timmons) (7:57)
03. Sidewinder (L. Morgan) (6:11)
04. Mississippi Windows (B. Golson) (8:16)
05. Work Song (N. Adderley – O. Brown) (621)
06. Moritat (Modern bebop version) (K. Weill, B. Brecht, M. Blitzstein) (6:01)
07. Blues March (B. Golson) (8:37)
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The Curtis FULLER Jazztet with Benny GOLSON 1959

Posted in Benny GOLSON, Curtis FULLER, JAZZ on December 20, 2010 by whoisthemonk

The Curtis FULLER Jazztet with Benny GOLSON 1959
1996 Issue.


Curtis Fuller was a well-established hard bop trombone player in New York when he made these excellent sides for Savoy in 1959. Going into the studio with an all-star lineup (Lee Morgan [tp] Benny Golson [ts] Wynton Kelly [p] Paul Chamber [b] Charlie Persip [d]), the results reveal a propensity for coming up with superb original compositions and the talent to play them well.

The CD wastes no time heating up: the first track (IT’S ALL RIGHT WITH ME) is very much on fire already, especially Benny Golson. On another up-tempo tune, Fuller’s blues piece JUDY’S DILEMMA, Golson has his Coltrane hat on, as the sheets of sound come pouring out of his horn. Lee Morgan is muted on this tune and plays a handsome solo. The highlight track for me is WHEATLEIGH HALL, a Dizzy Gillespie composition that has a KILLER JOE riff behind it – a most infectious tune (the kind you can’t get out of your head hours after you’ve finished listening to it). Morgan plays muted trumpet again and is beautiful on the theme. This is a great CD with no false moves, just straight ahead, solid hard bop jazz. Definitely worth checking out.
By Bomojaz.
Like the other Savoy recordings of Curtis Fuller, The Curtis Fuller Jazztet is a relaxed hard bop set featuring many of the young stars of the day. The more famous Blues-ette, from earlier in 1959, featured Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Garrison, and Al Harewood. This time, however, the Fuller/Golson combination included Lee Morgan, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and the percussive talents of drummer Charlie Persip. Listeners already acquainted with Blues-ette (or other comparable dates) should find this session to be familiar territory. Similarly, it is also very much in the same vein as another classic, Meet the Jazztet, upon which Fuller and Golson were again paired. Even though the compositions may not be as strong as those on Blues-ette (and how could they be?), there are a number of highly engaging solos by all and perhaps a bit more diversity with regard to both tempo and arrangement. Where Blues-ette’s sublime grace stems from the collective understanding displayed by the group, the greatness of The Curtis Fuller Jazztet is to be found in the individual talents of the soloists. Of particular note are Golson’s flights on up-tempo numbers such as the album’s opener, “It’s Alright With Me,” and absolutely every soloist’s take on the ballad “I’ll Walk Alone.” Let this highly recommended set also be a testament to the sparkling, Roy Haynes-like “snap-crackle” style of the underappreciated Charlie Persip.
By Brandon Burke, All Music Guide.
Bass- Paul Chambers
Drums- Charlie Persip
Piano- Wynton Kelly
Tenor Sax- Benny Golson
Trombone- Curtis Fuller
Trumpet- Lee Morgan
01. It’s Alright With Me  7:35
Written-By – Cole Porter
02. Wheatleith Hall  14:00
Written-By – Dizzy Gillespie
03. I’ll Walk Alone  6:45
Written-By – Jule Styne , Sammy Cahn
04. Arabia  6:30
Written-By – Curtis Fuller
05. Judy’s Dilemma  5:30
Written-By – Curtis Fuller
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Art FARMER and Benny GOLSON – Meet The Jazztet 1960

Posted in Art FARMER, Benny GOLSON, JAZZ on December 6, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Art FARMER and Benny GOLSON – Meet The Jazztet 1960
1991 Issue.


Although this CD has the same program as the original LP, it gets the highest rating because it is a hard bop classic. Not only does it include superior solos from trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonist Curtis Fuller, tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, and pianist McCoy Tyner (who was making his recording debut) along with fine backup from bassist Addison Farmer and drummer Lex Humphries, but it features the writing of Golson. Highlights include the original version of “Killer Joe” along with early renditions of “I Remember Clifford” and “Blues March.” This was Fuller and Tyner’s only recording with the original Jazztet, and all ten selections (which also include “Serenata,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “It’s All Right With Me,” and “Easy Living”) are quite memorable.
By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
After working together on a couple of previous albums, Art Farmer and Benny Golson formed the Jazztet in 1960 and recorded a handful of albums for the Argo label; this was the first. (The group lasted only a couple of years, though Farmer and Golson revived it in the 1980s.)

The personnel here is somewhat of an anomaly in that it changed radically after this initial session (except for Farmer and Golson, of course). Curtis Fuller is on trombone and he’s phenomenal on IT’S ALL RIGHT WITH ME, which is taken at breakneck speed. AVALON is also taken WAY up tempo; in fact, it’s TOO fast – it’s all notes. Golson’s tenor is featured nicely on his classic tune I REMEMBER CLIFFORD and on the standard EASY LIVING. Farmer is excellent on his own composition MOX NIX, an up-tempo blues. Benny Golson was a superb composer and PARK AVENUE PETITE is a beautiful ballad. His BLUES MARCH is also performed, though not quite as successfully as on the Art Blakey Blue Note recording entitled MOANIN’, which is definitive. And his KILLER JOE gets its first airing on this CD, taken medium-slow. McCoy Tyner (p) Addison Farmer (b) and Lex Humphries (d) round out the rhythm section. This is an excellent hard bop album and one of the best by the Jazztet.
By Bomojaz.
It’s difficult to understand from this distance in time why this aggregation never really broke through to the kind of acclaim that they deserved. The playing on this collection is excellent, particularly on the self-penned material ( mostly from Golson – but “Mox Nix” from Farmer is stunning). The standouts are the version of “I remember Clifford”, “Park Avenue Petite” and of course, the much lauded “Killer Joe”.The ensemble playing is terrific and the rhythm section of Addison Farmer and Lex Humphries gave this version of the group real propulsion. So why not 5 stars ? Well, because the best it got for me, was the group that played on the now-out-of print Verve album “Here and Now” which has been available only from time to time (shame on you Verve Interactive) most recently in 1998.That’s where the interplay between Golson and Farmer seemed at its best, and Farmer gets to play some great flugelhorn. However this is just fine!
Dr. D. Treharne.
When people discuss the cream of the hard-bop crop, names such as Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Horace Silver usually rise to the top. Without question, the Jazztet deserves inclusion in that discussion. Co-leaders Farmer and Golson had already made names for themselves before the sextet’s 1960 recording debut; upstarts Curtis Fuller and McCoy Tyner were well on their way. Benefiting from Golson’s usual crafty arrangements, the ensemble rolls through 10 cuts, offering a nifty combination of down-home funk and lyrical flair. Two of Golson’s most revered compositions—the gentle “I Remember Clifford,” led by Farmer’s silky trumpet, and the urgent “Blues March”—accompany the original recording of Golson’s “Killer Joe,” which includes his verbal description of the title character. The band also rips merrily through Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right with Me” and struts easily through Gershwin’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”
By Marc Greilsamer.
This is widely considered a hard bop classic. Well, it’s a little hard for me to see exactly why. It’s a mildly pleasant record, with ten short songs (3 to 4 minutes), and there’s no denying the quality of the musicians involved, but there’s no real spark.

It’s a very traditional record, as one would expect by the cover photo. At times, it even sounds like big-band jazz, even if it is a sextet. But the fact that it isn’t a groundbreaking record is not what prevents me from liking it. “Blues-Ette” is well-behaved also, but it’s a million light-years better than this.

I think it’s hard for me to define what’s the problem. Being not a musician, my concern is never with technical issues, but with the sheer pleasure conveyed by the music. This one leaves me a little cold. And the frequent alternance between lightspeed bop and too-slow ballads feels a little odd too.
Art Farmer- Trumpet
Benny Golson- Tenor sax
Curtis Fuller- Trombone
McCoy Tyner- Piano
Addison Farmer- Bass
Lex Humphries- Drums
01. Serenata (Anderson-Parish) 3:30
02. It Ain’t Necessarily So (Gershwin) 4:26
03. Avalon (Rose-DeSylva) 3:29
04. I Remember Clifford (Benny Golson) 3:10
05. Blues March (Benny Golson) 5:16
06. That’s All Right With Me (Cole Porter) 3:53
07. Park Avenue Petite (Benny Golson) 3:41
08. Mox Nix (Art Farmer) 4:01
09. Easy Living (Rubin-Ranger) 3:33
10. Killer Joe (Benny Golson) 4:57

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Benny GOLSON Featuring Freddie HUBBARD – Stardust 1987

Posted in Benny GOLSON, Freddie HUBBARD, JAZZ on November 24, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Benny GOLSON Featuring Freddie HUBBARD – Stardust 1987


Here’s an all-star hard-bop quintet perfectly balanced between the erudite and introspective (tenorist Golson, bassist Ron Carter), the bristling and blues-oriented (pianist Mulgrew Miller and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith) and featuring the superb, albeit inconsistent, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, who is very close to the top of his game. Golson and Hubbard are ex-Jazz Messengers with a proven affinity for trading horn riffs, and they deftly synergize their contrasting styles, especially on the two standards — the opening title track and a hastily-paced “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.”

The two Hubbard tunes far eclipse previous versions, especially “Povo” (first heard on the CTI disc Sky Dive), which clicks from a ululating Carter intro to Smith’s funky rhythmic architecture to blistering, ripple-toned extended notes from Hubbard; Smith pours on more beats, and Miller’s chords assume funk primacy. Golson sets up an internal dialogue and then starts to stretch as Smith drops in a cowbell and the two horns circle-dance a bit — and we’re barely halfway through the 12:13 time length.

Hubbard’s slightly out-there closer, “Far Away” (first appearing on Breaking Point from 1964), is an impressionistic gem slightly akin to Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” Like “Povo,” the song unfurls a large canvas and makes marvelous use of Carter’s stylistic breadth and kinetic flair. Golson’s dulcet “Sad to Say” is a welcome and quiet change of pace, far better than the novelty simplicity of “Gypsy Jingle-Jangle.” Recorded in 1987, when Golson and Hubbard had been through a number of career phases, Carter was an eminence and Smith and Miller were burgeoning first-call players, this is salt-and-pepper hard bop with an appetizing blend of muscle and maturity.
By Britt Robson.
Benny Golson– Tenor Sax
Freddie Hubbard– Trumpet
Ron Carter- Bass
Marvin Smitty Smith– Drums
Mulrgew Miller– Piano
01. Stardiust 9:10
02. Double Bass 9:22
03. Gipsy Jingle -Jangle 4:42
04. Povo 12:14
05. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing 7:30
06. Sad To Say 10:17
07. Far Away 13:47

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