Benny Golson (b. 1929) is a solid tenor sax player and a brilliant composer and arranger. Golson was born in Philadelphia, PA where he then paid his musical dues, playing with the likes of John Coltrane, Red Garland, Jimmy Heath, Red Rodney and more. After graduating from Howard University in 1950 he worked with pianist Tad Dameron who greatly influenced his musical style.

His career as composer of what have become jazz standards began with James Moody recording "Blue Walk", Miles Davis playing "Stablemates" and Dizzy Gillespie's Orchestra setting down "Whisper Not." Golson penned "I Remember Clifford" in honor of his friend Clifford Brown, who died in a car crash just as his career was skyrocketing.

Golson joined jazz's finishing school, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, at the age of 29, and did most of the composing and arranging for the group while he was with them. He partnered up with Art Farmer and Curtis Fuller to join the Jazztet in 1959. Famous Golson tunes from this time include "Killer Joe," "Along Came Betty," and "Are You Real?"

For some time in the 1960's and 70's, Golson got work writing the themes and background music for such shows as M*A*S*H and Mission: Impossible. He didn't stay away from playing forever. In 1974 he resumed touring and recording, and he reformed the Jazztet in 1982.

At the end of the 80's and start of the 90's Golson lectured at William Paterson College in New Jersey very close to where I grew up. I saw him with the reformed Jazztet at a mall, of all places. He still lives in the greater New York City area, active as ever.

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