BENNY GOLSON: Tenor Legacy (Vinyl)

Catalog # 71902

UPC # 602267190205

180 gram Premium Vinyl

Benny Golson: Tenor sax; Branford Marsalis: Tenor sax;

James Carter: Tenor sax; Harold Ashby: Tenor sax;

Geoff Keezer: Piano; Dwayne Burno: Bass; Joe Farnsworth: Drums


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Benny Golson leads this extraordinary session with fellow tenor saxophonists Branford Marsalis, James Carter and Harold Ashby, culminating in the historic, Grammy nominated CD dedicated to honoring the legacy of 10 all-time great tenor saxophonists.” – Nat Hentoff, Author/Columnist, The New York Times

This Arkadia Records album, recipient of a Grammy Nomination, is dedicated to honoring the legacy of ten of the all-time greats of the tenor saxophone – Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Ben Webster, and Don Byas.

“Gold Disc.” – Swing Journal, Japan

Musical mastermind Benny Golson leads this extraordinary session with fellow tenor saxophonists Branford Marsalis, James Carter and Harold Ashby, culminating in the historic, Grammy nominated Arkadia Records CD Benny Golson: Tenor Legacy. The stellar rhythm section (Geoff Keezer, Dwayne Burno, and Joe Farnsworth) provides splendid support for the four renowned saxophonists.

“Benny Golson’s tribute… is notable for its depth, legitimately great music, and memory. An essential CD for fans of jazz sax. Also, great liner notes with historical commentary by Golson on the tunes and players.” – Todd De Groff, Victory Music Review

Most appropriately titled, this collection of compositions pays tribute to a legacy bequeathed to a global culture that cannot be overestimated. Not only do the chosen selections remain standard vehicles for the exploration of improvisatory invention, emotional projection, and the indefinable phenomenon of swing, the musicians who respectively first introduce these tunes to the musical canon are all members of the Jazz pantheon.

Benny Golson: Tenor Legacy is a tribute to both these important Jazz compositions and to the influential saxophone players whose sounds inspired a new generation of musicians to explore, create, and participate in the constant reinvention of Jazz.

Song Selection:

1. Lester Leaps In (for Lester Young) Lester Young 3:54
2. Body and Soul (for Coleman Hawkins) Johnny Green 6:20
3. St. Thomas (for Sonny Rollins) Sonny Rollins 5:48
4. My Favorite Things (for John Coltrane)
Rodgers/Hammerstein 5:05
5. Whisper Not (for Benny Golson) Benny Golson 9:18
6. Lover Come Back to Me (for Ben Webster) Romberg/Hammerstein 5:30
7. My Old Flame (for Zoot Sims) Coslaw/Johnston 6:40

Benny Golson: Tenor saxophone

Branford Marsalis: Tenor saxophone (2)
James Carter: Tenor saxophone (1, 4, 5, and 5)
Harold Ashby: Tenor saxophone (1, 3, 6, and 7)
Geoff Keezer: Piano
Dwayne Burno: Bass
Joe Farnsworth: Drums

Producers: Makoto Kimata and Bob Karcy

Benny’s Comments:

LESTER LEAPS IN – This has always been a happy song, one that most musicians seem to enjoy playing, no matter what their style. Everyone plays with abandonment on this track. I think it’s a great opener – as the lights begin coming up to full intensity and the curtains swing dramatically and fully open revealing all.

BODY AND SOUL – Coleman Hawkins’ original solo is difficult to best. All of us who follow merely offer up our own expressions as we (with much love and respect) recall him. The ballad is the real crucible for any musician. Branford shows his maturity and his heart as well. His playing is linguistics set to music.

ST. THOMAS – When Sonny Rollins recorded this tune, he set into place a feeling for it that was to be imitated thereafter. Harold and I approached it with our own musical personalities, but only after being touched by Sonny.

MY FAVORITE THINGS – John Coltrane did just about everything possible on the saxophone, including this tune. Yet, James Carter and I were able to inject our own personalities into it and make it consequential in spite of not sounding like Coltrane.

WHISPER NOT – Though I wrote this tune in 1956, James Carter proves that a talented person can still breathe new life into it. With his help, I was able to revalidate it. Without any different approaches to existing tunes, the ear soon becomes bored.

LOVER COME BACK TO ME – Ben Webster came to my attention while he was with Duke Ellington orchestra in the 1940’s. I admired him from the very beginning, and even more after meeting him. He knew how to make his saxophone not only talk, but cry as well. I was delighted to be able to record a tune so closely associated with him, Harold seemed to reach into nowhere and touch his essence.

MY OLD FLAME – For my money, Harold Ashby stole this track. The sound he gets is all but lost today, probably because it’s reminiscent of the past. However, we should never forget that many things from the past are still valid today. Today I think it’s rather difficult for the younger saxophone players to arrive at a sound like his. Maybe because they don’t want to, or because they don’t know how. In any case, much experience and know-how is involved in such a sound Zoot Zims, who recorded this long ago, would have applauded Harold for his performance here. Bravo, Harold!

THE RHYTHM SECTION: Geoff Keezer, Dwayne Burno and Joe Farnsworth created a special kind of support, which is actually more than mere support, but a symbiosis – they were inspired by us, and we were inspired by them. The two of us brought life along with the music itself. One would have to give special attention to Geoff Keezer because as well as he plays, he’s still ascendant, and for my money, fast coming up on the legendary Art Tatum. I feel a sense of adventure when playing with this rhythm section. They make one want to play…for you.

My special thanks to:

The musicians who helped me make this possible. Bob Karcy of Arkadia Records who is an adventurer like we the musicians are; and thanks to the staff at Arkadia, Gaby Kleinschmidt and Mike Hennessy, Bobbie, my wife, who constantly encouraged me.

All the above mentioned were essential in realizing this project we now present to you.

–Benny Golson, New York, February 1998

What the Critics Say:

“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

“I have known Benny Golson as one of the most complete musicians of the past twenty-five years. He is a composer with an unusually brilliant melodic sense.”

“(4 stars) – Featuring tenor players Branford Marsalis, James Carter and Harold Ashby in duets (and trios) with Benny Golson, Tenor Legacy is a tribute to 10 of the most influential players of jazz’s main axe. …this is a recording about harmony and mutual respect. Ashby and Golson… fit together comfortably, finishing each other’s ideas and blending their burnished tones into a seamless whole. Typically, Carter is harder edged and more inclined to crank up the energy level. He scorches through My Favorite Things in tribute to John Coltrane and spurs pianist Geoff Keezer into his best playing on the album. Marsalis is solid… and leaves the listener wanting to hear more.”  – James Hale, Ottawa Citizen

…a perfectly realized concept album.” – Kevin Lynch, The Capital Times, 2 Sept 1998

“Benny Golson is back, this time with a salute to 10 legends of the tenor saxophone. It’s such a daunting task that Golson has called for help from Branford Marsalis, Harold Ashby and James Carter. I’ve long held Golson in high regard, both as a player and writer. Carter is a rising star…and at his best here on “Whisper Not”. Ashby, the elder statesman among Golson’s guests, employs the sweeping legato and broad vibrato of an earlier era, while Marsalis is definitely cookin’ alongside Golson on “Body and Soul”. One can always count on pianist Keezer to have something fresh and appealing to say, and he’s never at a loss for words. With Burno and Farnsworth, he comprises a rhythm section that leaves nothing to chance This is a colorful session with perceptive choices of melody and tempo.” – Jack Bowers,

“4 stars – Too often all-star sessions have a slapped-together feeling and little sense of commitment from the players. But not Golson’s project. His considerable arranging skills give each track a distinctive sound. Furthermore, the powerhouse line-up of contemporary tenors clearly inspire one another. James Carter pushed himself to the limit on the John Coltrane tribute, “My Favorite Things”, while waxing romantic on “Cry Me A River”. Special mention should also be made of the sterling rhythm section of pianist Geoff Keezer, bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Joe Farnsworth.” – Joe Middleton, Stereo-Type and JazzUSA

“”Tenor Legacy” features Benny on tenor sax dedicating 10 songs to 10 great tenor players… Highly recommended.” – Doug Willison, Big Band World

About Benny Golson:

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.

Composer/Arranger/Performing Artist:

Few jazz musicians can claim to be true innovators and even fewer can boast of a performing and recording career that literally redefines the term “Jazz.” A prodigious writer, Golson has written well over 300 compositions. Benny Golson has made major contributions to the world of music with such jazz standards as:

“Killer Joe”, “I Remember Clifford”, “Along Came Betty”, “Stablemates”, “Whisper Not”, “Blues March”, “Five Spot After Dark”, and “Are you Real”

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.

For more than 60 years, Golson has enjoyed an illustrious, musical career in which he has not only made scores of recordings but has also composed and arranged music for:

Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Mama Cass Elliott, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Shirley Horn, David Jones and the Monkees, Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee, Carmen McRae, Anita O’Day, Itzhak Perlman, Oscar Peterson, Lou Rawls, Mickey Rooney, Diana Ross, The Animals (Eric Burden), Mel Torme, George Shearing, and Dusty Springfield.

His prolific writing includes scores for hit TV series and films:

“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 has absolute mastery of the jazz medium. He has not only blazed a trail in the world of jazz but is passionate about teaching jazz to young and old alike. He has lectured at the Lincoln Center through a special series by Wynton Marsalis. He has lectured to doctoral candidates at New York University and to the faculty at National University at San Diego.

Honored with doctorates from William Paterson College, Wayne, NJ and Berklee School of Music, Boston, MA, Dr. Golson has also conducted workshops and clinics at:

  • Appalachian University, Boone, NC
  • Berklee School fo Music, Boston, MA
  • Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY
  • Howard University, Washington, DC
  • Julliard School of Music, New York, NY
  • Manhattan School of Music, New York, NY
  • New England Conservatory
  • Paris Conservatory, Paris, France
  • Rutgers University, New Orleans, LA
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • University of Denver, Denver, CO
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
  • University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, Appleton, WI
  • William Paterson College, Wayne, NJ

Golson’s musical odyssey has taken him around the world. In 1987 he was sent by the US State Department on a cultural tour of Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore. Later, Philip Morris International sent him on an assignment to Bangkok, Thailand to write music for the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra.

A live performer who consistently knocks audiences off their feet, Benny Golson has given hundreds of performances in the USA, Europe, South America, the Far East and Japan for decades. Benny is also working on a major college textbook and his autobiography.

This humble musical giant continues to impress critics, fans and fellow musicians with his prodigious contributions to the world of Jazz.

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