The Best of Benny Golson

The Best of Benny Golson

by Benny Golson Jazztet


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Benny Golson's acclaim as a player and composer is widespread in the jazz community, and this collection has been issued as part of a celebration of his eightieth birthday. It bookends his career, with many large ensemble selections from 1957 and 1958 in his pre-Jazztet days, and a few cuts from the 1980s onward with a second edition of the Jazztet, and select small combos. Trumpeter Art Farmer was his longtime partner in the original Jazztet, and he is featured, as is trombonist Curtis Fuller, the one musician who has worked with Golson through his entire career. Surprisingly, this reissue featuring nine tracks includes only six of the dozens of songs written by Golson, two standards, and a prototypical hard bop, stereo separated composition of Gigi Gryce, "Reunion," with an immortal democratic sextet featuring Max Roach, J.J. Johnson, and Kenny Dorham. While not a definitive "best-of" compilation, it does offer an interesting mix as to why Benny Golson is one of the all-time great jazz artists in the second half century of the music. The late-'50s sessions are the most valuable, and include the all-time classic "Whisper Not," a light blue traipse with a nonet, the elegant bopper "Are You Real?," and the basic 12-bar tiptoe tune "Blues After Dark," all signifying the epitome of cool. Fuller's presence is undeniable as Golson's main foil on most of the six tracks from his early years, especially during the cover of "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," with ultimately passive voicings from the horns jolted by an occasional quick 3/4 burst, and swimming with Detroit masters Tommy Flanagan on his ever vivacious and classy piano, and bassist Doug Watkins for a ballad treatment of "April in Paris." The final three selections are from 1986, 1997, and 2004, including a revived and spirited Jazztet with Fuller and Farmer on a live nine-and-a-half minute version of "Along Came Betty," a two-tenor infused studio version of "Five Spot After Dark" with Ron Blake, and the all-time hit "Killer Joe" with muted trumpeter Eddie Henderson ably abetting Golson in a composed display of reserved watching and warning -- keep at least one eye open for that devilish "Killer Joe"! Pianist Mike LeDonne cut his teeth with Golson, and is a standout on the final two selections. Without the Argo/Chess and Mercury label recordings of the Jazztet, his contributions as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, or many other great compositions Golson has written, this cannot be a comprehensive greatest-hits package, but it does serve as a very good primer for those who have still not yet discovered what a grand master he truly is.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/20/2009
Label: Ojc
UPC: 0888072312586
catalogNumber: 31258
Rank: 142188

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Benny Golson   Primary Artist,Tenor Saxophone
James Cleveland   Trombone
Ray Bryant   Piano
Kenny Dorham   Trumpet
Ray Drummond   Bass,Bass Guitar
Art Farmer   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Tommy Flanagan   Piano
Curtis Fuller   Trombone
Gigi Gryce   Alto Saxophone
Barry Harris   Piano
Philly Joe Jones   Drums
Wynton Kelly   Piano
Max Roach   Drums
Marvin "Smitty" Smith   Drums
Art Taylor   Drums
Doug Watkins   Bass,Bass Guitar
Julius Watkins   French Horn
Eddie Henderson   Trumpet
Mickey Tucker   Piano
Mike LeDonne   Piano
John Swana   Trumpet
Harewood   Drums
Jymie Merritt   Bass,Bass Guitar
Carl Allen   Drums
Art Blakey   Drums
Paul Chambers   Bass Guitar
J.J. Johnson   Trombone
Charlie Persip   Drums
Sahib Shihab   Baritone Saxophone
Peter Washington   Bass,Bass Guitar
Buster Williams   Bass,Bass Guitar
Joe Farnsworth   Drums
Barry Harris   Piano
Tom Bryant   Bass Guitar
Rob Blake   Tenor Saxophone
Micky Tucker   Piano

Technical Credits

Gigi Gryce   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Vernon Duke   Composer
John Burk   Producer
Rudy Van Gelder   Engineer
Benny Golson   Arranger,Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Jack Higgins   Engineer
Helen Keane   Producer,Audio Production
Orrin Keepnews   Producer,Audio Production
Nick Phillips   Audio Production
Dennis Wall   Engineer
Makoto Kimata   Producer,Audio Production
Phil Klum   Engineer
Tommy Nola   Engineer
Larissa Collins   Art Direction
Marc Myers   Liner Notes
John Burke   Audio Production

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