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Benny Golson: Up Jumped Benny

In addition to being among the great jazz composer-arrangers, Golson’s a superb tenor saxophonist, with a style rooted in the work of Don Byas, Lucky Thompson and fellow Philadelphian John Coltrane. Like Thompson’s his playing has become more refined over the years.

Here Golson is heard live in 1996 at a Swiss club with pianist Kevin Hayes, bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Carl Allen. The tunes he plays are mostly old favorites, his “Stablemates,” “I Remember Clifford” and “Whisper Not,” Clifford Brown’s “Tiny Capers” and Freddie Hubbard’s “Up Jumped Spring,” terrific vehicles for improvising.

The group takes a couple of tunes at a rapid clip but most are done at medium and slow tempos. On them Golson’s warm tone and inventiveness come to the fore. And he can still cook, as he demonstrates on “Gypsy Jingle Jangle.”

The rhythm section accompanies Benny with skill and sensitivity, Allen doing a particularly tasty job and providing intelligent solo work as well.

Originally Published