Benny Golson

Benny Golson & The New Jazztet 

Benny Golson (sax)
Eddie Henderson (tp)
Steve Davis (tb)
Mike LeDonne (p)
Buster Williams (b)
Carl Allen (dr)

Meet Benny Golson & The New Jazztet

new program - new CD:

It was almost 50 years ago, in late 1959, that Art Farmer and Benny Golson got together to form the Jazztet, an all-star six piece group completed by Curtis Fuller on trombone, McCoy Tyner on piano, Addison Farmer on bass and Lex Humphries on drums. This sextet made its first album - Meet The Jazztet – for the Argo/Chess label in February 1960.

Between September 1960 and June 1962, the Jazztet went on to record five more memorable albums, which, according to jazz writer Bob Blumenthal, "represent the peak in two exceptional jazz careers." Now Benny Golson announces the formation of The New Jazztet, another all-star aggregation, with the same instrumentation as the original group – Benny Golson on tenor saxophone, Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Steve Davis on trombone, Mike LeDonne on piano, Buster Williams on bass and Carl Allen on drums.

The New Jazztet makes its recording début for the Concord label with an 11-track album, which offers an appetizing mix of Golson originals, classic jazz themes by Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk and an outstanding version of Benny Golson's Whisper Not by guest vocalist Al Jarreau.

The following tunes are part of the new album (release-date January 2009) and also from the live-performance-program:

Grove's Groove (Steve Davis)
The New Jazztet Theme (Benny Golson)
From Dream To Dream (Benny Golson)
Whisper Not (Benny Golson)
Epistrophy (Thelonious Monk)
L'Dieu (Frederick Chopin)
Uptown Afterburn (Benny Golson)
Gypsy Jingle-Jangle (Benny Golson)
Areign (Sonny Rollins)
Verdi's Voice (Giuseppe Verdi)
Love Me In A Special Way (DuBarge)

GKP is proud to announce that it will be presenting Benny Golson's superb New Jazztet on tour in Europe in July 2009.

Benny Golson - Bio:

One of the most creative, imaginative and respected composers and arrangers on the jazz scene, as well as being an original and resourceful saxophonist, Benny Golson has played a significant role in the development of modern jazz in a career spanning 50 years. Perhaps his most enduring achievement has been the creation of a large number of melodic and harmonically sophisticated compositions, many of which have become jazz standards - including 'I Remember Clifford', 'Killer Joe', 'Whisper Not', 'Along Came Betty', 'Blues March', and 'Stablemates'. Altogether he has more than 300 originals to his credit.

He has arranged music for scores of great jazz artists, including Count Basie, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Quincy Jones and Carmen McRae. He has also been very active outside the jazz spectrum, composing and arranging for such artists as Diana Ross, Sammy Davis Jr., Eartha Kitt, Peggy Lee, Lou Rawls, Eric Burdon, Connie Francis and Nancy Wilson. His prolific compositional output includes the scores for many films and TV series, including 'M.A.S.H.', 'Mission Impossible' and 'The Partridge Family'.

Born in Philadelphia on January 25th, 1929, Golson began studying piano at the age of nine and later studied organ and clarinet. He switched to tenor saxophone at the age of 14. After attending Howard University in Washington from 1947 to 1950, Golson obtained his early playing experience in the band of Bull Moose Jackson.

In 1951 he met Tadd Dameron, who encouraged his interest in arranging and hired him in 1953. There followed spells in the mid-fifties with Lionel Hampton, Johnny Hodges and Earl Bostic and then, in 1956, Golson joined Dizzy Gillespie's Big Band with which he made a State Department tour of South America. Golson stayed with Gillespie until the band broke up in 1958, recording six albums with Dizzy.

In February 1958 Golson replaced Jackie McLean in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and became musical director. Leaving Blakey at the end of 1959, Golson co-led an elegant and stylish small group, the Jazztet, with Art Farmer which, though deserving of a longer life-span, broke up after two and a half years, during which time it recorded six fine albums. From 1963 on, Golson turned increasingly towards arranging, working for television and the cinema. On his return to the States, he gave up playing for nine years to devote himself to writing movie and television music.

Back on the playing scene again in the mid-seventies, Golson became a busy freelance. In 1983 he reconstituted the Jazztet and made several overseas appearances with it as well as recording albums.

In the Autumn of 1996, Benny Golson toured in Europe with the all-star Whisper Not Septet, which included singer Jon Hendricks. In that same year, Benny received the American Jazz Masters Award. In 1999, Benny Golson was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental for his performance of 'Body And Soul' on the CD 'Tenor Legacy' and in 2003 he appeared in the Steven Spielberg film, 'The Terminal' with Tom Hanks, which was premiered in 2004.

Initially influenced by Dexter Gordon and John Coltrane, Golson has since modified his style with echoes of Lucky Thompson and Don Byas and, particularly on ballads, Ben Webster. – Mike Hennessey