Benny Golson is a world-renowned tenor saxophonist, composer, arranger and lyricist. This jazz legend has played with Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Earl Bostic and Art Blakey, among others.
Born in 1929 in Philadelphia, Benny Golson began playing the saxophone at the age of 14. After studying at Howard University, he joined Bull Moose Jackson's band in 1951 and then Tadd Dameron's band in 1953.
He then joined the bands of Lionel Hampton, Johnny Hodges, Earl Bostic, Dizzy Gillespie, then Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers with whom he recorded the famous Moanin album in 1958. Within the group he developed his talents as a composer and later wrote many songs that would become jazz standards: Along Came Betty, I Remember Clifford, Killer Joe, Whisper Note... He then formed a hard bop band with trumpet player Art Farmer: Jazztet.
In addition, Benny Golson composes a lot of music for television and cinema (M*A*S*H, Mannix, Mission Impossible, Mod Squad, Room 222, Run for Your Life, The Partridge Family...). He is also involved in teaching jazz by giving lectures and masterclasses at Lincoln Center and in many universities.
Golson did not turn to the new trends of jazz like many of his peers; he remained faithful to hard bop. Enjoying a prolific career that has taken him around the world for more than sixty years, Benny Golson is recognized as a master of jazz, but also as an excellent arranger and composer.
Benny Golson plays only Selmer saxophones, "the ultimate in sound", "the rolls royce of saxophones" he declared in 2010. His favourite saxophone is the Reference 36.
Photo credit: BrianMcMillen - Hreinn Gudlaugsson
Jazz will only go where we composers and musicians will take it. It's up to us.