Benny Golson: Free

Golson ranks among the great post bop composer-arrangers, as his pieces on this CD indicate. Free contains a mixture of standards and fresh originals. Golson’s work had a lot in common with Lucky Thompson’s in the 50’s, but by the time this album was cut he’d also picked up ideas from Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. He shines on both ballads, where his big, warm tone and heavy vibrato are stand him in good stead, and the uptempo version of “Just in Time,” where his improvising is full of power and substance. Pianist Tommy Flanagan appears here and does a consumate job.