Groovin' With Golson

Benny Golson

Groovin' With Golson

Groovin' With Golson

Benny Golson, tenor sax; Curtis Fuller, trombone; Ray Bryant, piano;
Paul Chambers, bass; Art Blakey, drums.

1. My Blues House (Benny Golson) 9:25
2. Drum Boogie (Krupa--Eldridge) 3:59
3. I Didn't Know What Time It Was (Rodgers--Hart) 5:25
4. The Stroller (Benny Golson) 9:18
5. Yesterdays (Kern--Harbach) 5:54
Recording by RUDY VAN GELDER
Recorded on August 28, 1959

By now the name of Benny Golson has become familiar to anyone who considers himself the least bit interested in the happenings of the contemporary jazz world.

First it was Golson's arrangements which made an impact; songs like "Stablemates," "Whisper Not" and "I Remember Clifford" became standard parts of many a modern group's library. His arrangements for Dizzy Gillespie's band (1956-58 period) were notable and in 1958, he breathed life into the repertoire of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers when, as a newly joined member, he brought his pen as well as his horn.

With Blakey, Benny's playing began to open up, really "stretch out" as they say. In Groovin' With Golson, the emphasis is on blowing. The tunes were written or chosen with this in mind. "The lines are menat to be vehicles for blowing," says Benny. To make this type of recording date a success, the players, both the featured and the supporting, must be chosen with care. This Golson did and he has praise for all of them.

As for the tunes: there are no arrangements as such. The treatment of the standards evolved out of playing them on the bandstand during club engagements. "Yesterdays," for instance, was suggested by Leroy Vinnegar when that bassist was playing with Golson and Curtis Fuller in California. They started playing it then and have been doing so, together, since.

Three of the selections are blues. The down-grooved "My Blues House" is first. Paul Chambers has a pizzicato solo in addition to the three main solo voices, Fuller, Golson, and Ray Bryant.

The old Gene Krupa number, "Drumboogie," is neither a frantic jumper or a feature for Blakey. Bryant's boogie bass, way down at the bottom of the keyboard, introduces the easily swinging theme. In the first melody chorus, there are hot rolls by Blakey who really bakes on this one in a solid, supporting manner. He does have an effectively terse chorus, after the three principals solo, which leads back to the final melody statement.

"I Didn't Know What Time It Was" is comfortably swung with the two horns blending beautifully. Solos by Golson, Fuller and Bryant.

"The Stroller" is a fast riff blues which, after swift and sure efforts by Golson, Fuller and Bryant, is the scene of an arco solo by the amazing Mr. Chambers which is quite a display of virtuosity. Then Blakey roars into the spotlight before sharing it in four bar bursts with G., F., and B.

Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays" is treated to a medium, finger-snapping tempo with solos by all but Blakey (Chambers' is pizzicato) and the rich meeting of the ensemble horns again evident.

This is straightforward blowing, direct and forceful, warm and tender, all backed by a rhythm section that is vital at all tempos be they plunging or coasting. While many ideas are presented by the soloists, it is an extremely easy-listening album. As the last line of "I Got Rhythm" says, "Who could ask for anything more?"

--IRA GITLER, from the liner notes.

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