One of the greats of jazz, tenor saxophonist and composer Benny Golson, stopped by the WRTI studios on June 29th to talk to News Anchor and Arts Reporter Meridee Duddleston. Golson was on his way to the Free Library of Philadelphia, where WRTI Jazz Host Jeff Duperon interviewed him about his just-released autobiography Whisper Not.
From Philadelphia, Golson knew and played with John Coltrane, going on to work with many of the greats of jazz: Dizzy Gillespie, Tadd Dameron, Lionel Hampton, Art Farmer, Benny Goodman, Art Blakey, and many more. After writing standards such as “Whisper Not,” “Blues March,” “Killer Joe,” and his memorial to Clifford Brown, “I Remember Clifford,” he worked in television for a time, scoring shows such as Room 222, M*A*S*H, Ironside, The Partridge Family, and Mission: Impossible.
But playing is his lifeblood, and he continues touring now, at age 87, collaborating with some of the finest artists of today and encouraging the stars of tomorrow.
In Art Kane’s Esquire magazine photograph A Great Day in Harlem, taken in 1958, Golson stands top row, left. He and Sonny Rollins are the only surviving musicians from that picture.
Benny Golson is the recipient of the Mellon Living Legacy Award, an NEA Jazz Masters Award, and the International Academy of Jazz Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award. His alma mater Howard University created the Benny Golson Jazz Master Award in 1996.