The Jazzcat

Benny Golson Back at The Jazz Bakery!

by on Dec.02, 2007, under News


Slide Show

Benny is back and as usual, he is the ultimate gentleman.

His rapport with the crowd is unparalleled. This master legend has always made

everyone that has ever witnessed his live performance feel loved and

appreciated for supporting the music. Benny makes music feel like family! This is his last night here at the Jazz Bakery and I am sure

that the entire week has been wonderful. I just landed here in LA from Chicago three hours ago

and as tired as I am, there is no way I can miss this opportunity to see Benny



Benny is the supreme prolific storyteller and tonight he

tells the story of how “Along Came Betty” came into existence. Betty was many

moons ago the apple of Benny’s eye but, that was then, Bobbie is Benny’s wonderful

wife now so don’t make that famous mistake. Benny’s playing is as sweet as his

persona, which is as sweet as his sound. There is no fire or fierce acrobatics;

Benny just gives you the richness of his melodies, the pureness of his sound

and the grandeur of his classic compositions.


Time has been good to Benny in many ways. He is the master

of his instrument, he is charming and elegant, always a positive inspiration

and full of joy and all of these things he bestows upon us as gifts to us to go

out in the world and continue the blessing. 

If you wonder why you hear Benny playing all of these standards it’s

because he is the one who wrote them. He literally is the standard by which

many a jazz musicians structure their sets. Benny is the real book not the fake



Everyone wants to know the story of  “Killer Joe” and to our surprise we learn

that Killer is an amalgamation of many of slick hustler types that used to come

into the clubs back in the day; plenty of money, immaculate dress, a lady on

each arm and never worked a day in his life. Benny said that there was always

one in each town and chances are that you may even know one today. Benny would

always see these cats as he was up on the bandstand playing and decided to

dedicate a tune just for all the Joes.


It is quite amazing to listen to so many standards composed

by the same artist who was instrumental in their inception. He is still

stronger than ever and plays with just as much class and even toned cool

pizzazz as he did back when the songs were just were just works in progress.

Even the way Benny holds his horn when he is off stage listening to the rhythm

section do their thing is cool! This picture is not quite a compliment to a

Francis Wolf black and white photo but, close your eyes, add some smoke and

imagine. Benny is the picturesque embodiment of a jazz musical success; living

and playing on the creativity from within; an organic 401k that pays big

dividends. A man who, through clean living, positive attitudes and a dedication

to composition and classic sound has become the living landmark for respect,

integrity and the standard from which many learn and are introduced to the



Benny used to be great friends with John Coltrane and they

used to go and check out Charlie Parker and Dizzy when they were young. They

would run up and carry their horns into the club just so they could witness the

sound that they were so used to hearing from the not so comfortable perch

outside the windows of the establishment. They would ask questions about what

mouthpiece to use and what brand of horn they played on. Each of the cats would

go home and practice and they just knew with the purchase of such items that

they too could play like that. After practicing intensely for quite sometime,

they would call each other only to find out that the new items did not

magically reproduce those sounds. As he ponders on about his great friend John,

he dedicates the next tune to him, “Mr. P.C.”


Benny Golson, the man with the stories, the standards and a

love for the music that has served us all extremely well.


LeRoy Downs

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