Sid Gribetz celebrates the career of composer and tenor saxophonist Benny Golson on “Jazz Profiles” this Sunday, June 5, from 2-7 PM.
Golson is one of the great eminences of jazz, best known as a composer of lyrical compositions that have become enduring staples of the modern jazz repertory. A key performer in some of the most important jazz groups of the late 1950's, Golson added an element of elegance and refinement to the hard bop sound. He imposed a steady sophistication and class to the ensemble presentation. Benny remains active to this day as an NEA Jazz master and important performer of worldwide repute.
Stablemates, Killer Joe, Whisper Not, I Remember Clifford, Along Came Betty, Blues March, Five Spot After Dark, and Are You Real are among the great songs that you’ll recognize during this broadcast and that typify his style.
Born January 25, 1929, Golson was raised in Philadelphia and came of age with high school compatriots such as John Coltrane and Jimmy Heath. Initially inspired by Arnett Cobb, Golson began his professional career in the early 1950's in rhythm and blues bands, sharing these chores with many jazz friends such as Tadd Dameron, who influenced Benny’s arranging style. He also traveled with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band.
Golson’s major breakthrough came upon joining Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1958, as his arranging and direction helped take Blakey’s combo design to the “next level.” Later, together with Art Farmer and Curtis Fuller he founded “The Jazztet,” which was an innovative and popular group that expanded the possibilities of the hard bop ensemble. During this period he also participated in many significant recordings as a leader and in other multi-faceted settings.
By the late 1960's, Golson left the jazz scene and settled in California where he became a distinctive arranger and orchestrator of major television and movie scores.
Having returned to jazz during the neo-classic revival period of the 1980's, Golson continues to perform vigorously until this very day, and at age 87 has just released a new album on High Note, “Horizon Ahead”.