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Benny Golson
One Day, Forever
Arkadia Jazz CD 70744, 2001 (65:37)

Golson composes himself

Dan Macintosh, 1 July 2001

Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson has been writing and recording jazz music for four decades now, and his noteworthy new album only scratches the surface of "One Day" in a career that has seemed to last "Forever." Golson's horn work has always consistently produced beautifully warm tones, but the selling point of this latest release is Benny Golson, the composer. As with most players, a composer's instrumental work attracts the most attention to his or her skills, and this rule holds true for Golson.

Over repeating piano chords, which blink on and off like an unattended left turn signal, "Killer Joe" swings with an unobtrusively hypnotic swagger. It's an oft covered underside-of-the-pillow cool tune, and rightfully so. Like the most of this album, it is performed by the Sextet, which is a modified version of Golson's late Fifties/early Sixties Jazztet and features Art Farmer on trumpet and Curtis Fuller on trombone. This performance is highlighted by Fuller's full-bodied and authoritative solo. Later, on "Blues Alley," Golson's Sextet pulls out all the stops and rocks hard (if that can even be said about a jazz tune) on this propulsive ensemble piece.

But these examples represent only one side of Golson's compositional personality. The incomparable Shirley Horn sings two ballads here: the title cut and a post-breakup cry called "Sad To Say." Produced to the hilt with a full orchestra, these two songs are significant in that they showcase Golson, the lyricist.

A final, and all together different viewpoint of Golson's writing skills, is found with "On Gossamer Wings," which is handled solely by pianist Lara Downes. On it, Downes patiently draws out every nuance of its emotional melody on this 10:24 classical piece. It closes this varied album on a meditative note.

There's far too much music in this multifaceted man to be contained on one measly 65-minute CD. But "One Day, Forever" reveals Benny Golson to be one multitalented cat.

who does what
One Day, Forever · Sad To Say
Shirley Horn, vocals; Benny Golson, tenor sax; Mulgrew Miller; piano; Ron Carter; bass; Carl Allen, drums; with full orchestra

Blue Walk · Killer Joe · Are You Real? · Out of the Past · Blues Alley · Along Came Betty
Benny Golson, tenor sax; Art Farmer, trumpet; Curtis Fuller, trombone; Geoff Keezer, piano; Dwayne Burno, bass; Joe Farnsworth, drums

On Gossamer Wings
Lara Downes, solo piano

Copyright © 2001 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.