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