Benny Golson’s Songs

Benny Golson
“In my experience of some thirty years of writing about and recording musicians, Benny Golson stands out as a man whose musical skills and capacities are extraordinarily wide-ranging. He is consistently resourceful in terms of creativity, as well as being a thorough professional. His conscientiousness, the high standards he always sets for himself, and his total reliability are qualities that account for the prominence he has attained – along with, of course, his prodigious musicianship as a composer, arranger and performer. Benny Golson continually impresses me with the freshness of his musical conceptions. But I am never surprised that they always work exactly as he says they will, because they always do.”
-John S Wilson, Jazz Critic, The New York Times

This January, one of our favorite artists, Benny Golson is turning 95 years old. Multi-talented and internationally famous jazz legend, – a composer, arranger, lyricist, producer – and tenor saxophonist of world note, Benny Golson was born in Philadelphia, PA on January 25, 1929. Raised with an impeccable musical pedigree, Golson has played in the bands of world famous Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Earl Bostic and Art Blakey. Bob Karcy, Arkadia’s founder and CEO, had a great privilege of working with Benny on a number of recordings. He got to know Benny Golson not only as an accomplished musician but also a wonderful human being  


Benny Golson is the only living jazz artist to have written 8 standards for jazz repertoire. These jazz standards have found their way into countless recordings internationally over the years and are still being recorded.

He has recorded over 30 albums, including six for Arkadia Records, in the United States and Europe under his own name and innumerable ones with other major artists.

Golson has composed and arranged music for artists from a diverse array of musical genres from Classical to pop. He worked with John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Itzhak Perlman, Diana Ross, Dusty Springfield, and others. 

His prolific writing includes scores for hit TV series and films such as: “M*A*S*H”, “Mannix”, “Mission Impossible”, “Mod Squad”, “Room 222”, “Run for Your Life”, “The Partridge Family”, “The Academy Awards”, and “The Karen Valentine Show”, Television specials for ABC, CBS and NBC. Television specials for BBC in London and Copenhagen, Denmark. Theme for Bill Cosby’s last TV show, and A french film ‘Des Femmes Disparaissent” (Paris).

He has written music for national radio and television spots for some of the major advertising agencies in the country. Some of these commercials were for: Borateem, Canada Dry, Carnation, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Clorox, Dodge, General Telephone, Gillette, Heinz Foods, Jack in The Box, Liquid Plum’r, MacDonald’s, Mattel Toys, Monsanto, Nissan, Ohrbachs, Ore-Ida Frozen Potatoes, Parliament Cigarettes, Pepsi Cola, and Texaco.



Benny Golson was part of the plot in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Terminal”. The main character of the film is after getting an autograph of every musician pictured in the famous “Great Day in Harlem” photograph. Benny Golson is the last musician on the list. In the end of the movie he finally gets to meet Benny and get the autograph. 


Benny Golson: Golden Standards
At the peak of his musical powers, Benny Golson recorded a number of projects for Arkadia Records. Among those recording sessions, he performed 17 of his original compositions, including his most famous songs, many of which became Jazz Standards. This commemorative release presents a retrospective of his historic career starting 70 years ago when he joined the Tad Da
meron band in 1953, then forming The Jazztet with Art Farmer in 1959.
Inspired by his friend, noted trumpeter Clifford Brown, who died in a car accident in 1956 at the age of 25, he wrote one of his most famous songs, “I Remember Clifford”, followed by numerous standards including Stablemates, Killer Joe, Blues March, Whisper Not, Along Came Betty and Are You Real?, all of which are included in this project.

“Jazz will only go where we the composers and musicians take it. It is up to us.”
-Benny Golson


We’re kicking the Album off with the release of the Single “Blue Walk.” As with many of Benny’s songs, this one comes with a story. Golson reminisces about the origin of the famous tune:

Blue Walk” goes back to the very beginning of my career as a composer when I was a member of a Rhythm ‘n’ Blues group. This is the very first tune of mine that was ever recorded. This very simple and easy-to-remember melody was recorded by the extremely exceptional Septet of James Moody. When the recording was released, I first heard it on a juke box in Chicago where Ahmad Jamal was appearing. The would be one of many visits to follow, visits, that would usually include Ahmad and me having breakfast together after his late last set.During one intermission, we happened to be standing by the juke box when “Blue Walk” began playing. He paused for a moment and said, “I Like this tune; it’s very melodic.” I responded with “Thank you!” He then gave me a surprised look and said, “You wrote this tune?” That was the beginning of a lasting friendship.

Listen to “Blue Walk” HERE

Read more about Benny on our site

Stay tuned for more releases of Benny Golson’s songs, and join us in wishing Benny a very Happy Birthday! 

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