Interview: Benny Golson - JazzWax

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February 09, 2012


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When I met Benny at the Subway Jazz Club in 1988, I told him about my studies, and that one of my tunes was inspired by Chet's way to make a ballad out of the blues, and by Benny's neglected composition "Blue Thoughts" (on "Chet Baker in New York"). and that I loved this particular composition which I had transcribed.

BG (laughing): "What? You know this tune? I have completely forgotten that I wrote it."

Gus Bockhennes

Wow, great story.

John L Reynolds

Whisper Not is one of the great jazz tunes of all time, whether Benny took 20 minutes or 20 days to compose it. And I love the way some pseudo intellectuals have tried to interpret the title.

Chris Galuman

Great post! I love the stories of how the tunes came about. It would be fantastic to see Benny up in that box for the Kennedy Center honors. To those who decide such things I say "hear,hear."

Steven C.

Awesome. I wasn't familiar with this great musician.

T.K. Tortch

Ah thanks for this - Golson's one of my favorite tenor players, period. He may be on the 'best tenor player you never heard of' list, but he doesn't sound like anybody else & I can always pick him out of a crowd.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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