NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and was recently named a Kennedy Center Living Jazz Legend. A tenor saxophonist known for his expressive playing, his career spans a remarkable six decades—from his early years with John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, to his continued success as a solo performer and composer, arranger, lyricist and producer—Benny Golson is busier than ever.
Golson has recorded over 30 albums and written over 300 compositions that have been recorded countless times in the U.S. and internationally. Jazz aficiandos love his original compositions “Blues March,” “I Remember Clifford,” “Killer Joe” and “Stablemates,” while TV and film fans know his music from M*A*S*H, Mission Impossible, and The Cosby Show theme. In addition, he has composed music for The Partridge Family and The Academy Awards; numerous television specials for ABC, CBS and NBC; and national radio and television commercials for Chrysler, Clorox, Gillette, Heinz Foods, MacDonald’s, Mattel Toys, Nissan, Pepsi Cola, Texaco, and others.
Golson has not only blazed a trail in the world of jazz but is passionate about teaching jazz to young and old alike. He lectured at Lincoln Center through a special series created by Wynton Marsalis and now at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and Festival Miami. Golson is also working on a major college textbook and his autobiography.
This humble musical giant continues to impress critics, fans, and fellow musicians with his prodigious contributions to the world of jazz.
Photo Credit: Oliver Rossberg