9

Benny Golson: Horizon Ahead

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Benny Golson: Horizon Ahead At age eighty-seven, saxophonist Benny Golson is one of the last surviving links to the Golden Age of modern jazz, ushered in by the likes of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke and others in the early '40s. Golson came on the bop scene about a decade later and has been a force ever since, whether playing, composing, arranging, buttressing Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers or leading groups of various sizes. In 1956, Golson wrote "Whisper Not," the first of several of his works that may properly be labeled jazz standards. That list includes (but is not limited to) "I Remember Clifford," "Blues March," "Along Came Betty" and "Killer Joe."

On tenor sax, Golson has his own voice, a husky, vibrato-laden dialect out of the Ben Webster / Coleman Hawkins school with an occasional nod to Lester Young and subtle permutations that set him apart from those and other forebears. If time has dulled Golson's razor-sharp mind or degraded his admirable technique, it's certainly not apparent on Horizon Ahead, on which Golson is in total command of a much-more-youthful rhythm section. To further press home the point, he composed four of the album's nine selections including the title song, (presumably) arranged the first eight tracks, and even wrote the elaborate liner notes.

Aside from Golson's winning themes, the menu consists of Ellington's "Mood Indigo" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," the standards "Lulu's Back in Town" and "Three Little Words," and Carl Allen's solo drum piece, "Out of the Darkness, and Into the Light" (the last preceded by Golson's astute spoken introduction). There's a pleasing aura of self-assurance and self-control throughout, even when Golson and his mates are wailing, as on "Jump Start," "Domingo" or "Three Little Words." Pianist Mike LeDonne plays his role as accompanist / soloist with aplomb, as does bassist Buster Williams (who duets with Golson on a charming version of "Lulu's Back in Town"). Allen's timekeeping is up to its usual standards, so no more need be said about that.

At an age that is far past retirement for most mortals, Benny Golson not only keeps working but showing a younger generation that when it comes to contemporary jazz, maturity and experience are dependable allies in the ongoing battle with Father Time. It is, of course, a battle that can never be won, but Golson proves on Horizon Ahead that when his time comes, he'll definitely go down swinging.

Track Listing: Don’t Get Around Much Anymore; Jump Start; Horizon Ahead; Mood Indigo; Domingo; Lulu’s Back in Town; Night Shade; Three Little Words; Spoken Introduction; Out of the Darkness and Into the Light.

Personnel: Benny Golson: tenor saxophone; Mike LeDonne: piano; Buster Williams: bass; Carl Allen: drums.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: OA2 Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read One Minute Later CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017
Read JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800° CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Ephimeral CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Fly or Die CD/LP/Track Review Fly or Die
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Dream Delivery" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Delivery
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 28, 2016
Read "Ears Are Filled With Wonder" CD/LP/Track Review Ears Are Filled With Wonder
by John Sharpe
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Malamute" CD/LP/Track Review Malamute
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Live At Edgefest" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Edgefest
by John Sharpe
Published: April 28, 2016
Read "Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!