Benny Golson: Airegin

Benny Golson writes the songs, he writes the songs: "Whisper Not," "Killer Joe," "Along Came Betty," and "I Remember Clifford," to name a few. As demonstrated on "Airegin," he interprets other people's songs, too. Quite well, in fact.

Sonny Rollins's classic has been covered exhaustively, sometimes creatively, and this is one of those times. As originally conceived, "Airegin" races along at a fast tempo broken up by some challenging changes. Golson slows down the tempo a tad, converts the opening statement to a bassline, and smoothes out the changes. And he makes the song resolutely swing.

Trumpeter Eddie Henderson leads off the solos with one that crackles, and then the leader comes close behind with a contrasting, old-school style that beautifully blends elements of Coleman Hawkins and Lucky Thompson. The other players get their turn, too, and everyone in Golson's New Jazztet plays crisp and enthused.

At 80 years young, Benny Golson is still going strong. Whether it is with one of his jazz standards or someone else's, Golson can play the songs.

February 01, 2009 · 1 comment


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