Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Benny Golson Jazztet: New Time, New 'Tet

Concord Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 4.2.09
Buy CD: New Time, New 'Tet

Tenor saxman, composer and arranger Benny Golson, born in 1929 and still active, is a living legend. The Howard University graduate has worked with many of the jazz giants who were key to the bebop genre, including John Coltrane, the Heath brothers, Clifford Brown and Tadd Dameron.

Golson considered the latter to be the most important influence on his writing.

Golson's jazz standards include “Killer Joe,” “Whisper Not,” “Along Came Betty” and “I Remember Clifford.” He and the late Art Farmer co-led their famous Jazztet for several years, after which Golson concentrated on studio and movie soundtrack work. His musical contributions were an important part of the TV shows M*A*S*H, Ironside and Room 222.

Golson also had a key cameo role with Tom Hanks, in The Terminal.

Golson's new Jazztet features some fine, relatively new, sidemen. The basic sextet includes Steve Davis (trombone), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), Buster Williams (bass), Mike LeDonne (piano) and Carl Allen (drums). Vocalist Al Jarreau helps the group reprise “Whisper Not.”

The result is nice, tight and swinging. The covers of Sonny Rollins' “Airegen” and Thelonious Monk's “Epistrophy” provide a new spark to these jazz classics.

All in all, it's a groovin' album. Welcome back, Benny!

No comments: