On Jazz Wax, Marc Myers’s marathon interview with tenor saxophonist, arranger and composer Benny Golson (pictured) started running on September 8 and winds up today. If you are put off by transcribed verbatim interviews, never fear. Myers edits with care, provides appropriate web links and illustrates his pieces lavishly, sometimes to a fault (Golson says — tongue in cheek, I hope– “As the future crouches beneath my window waiting unashamedly to reveal itself…” and Myers shows you a dreamscape of a sky — tongue in cheek, I hope).
Golson on how Art Blakey let him know he wasn’t playing forcefully enough:
One night, instead of playing a press roll for two bars before we came into the new chorus, he started that press roll eight bars early. He was so loud I thought he had lost his senses. When he came down for the new chorus, every two or three beats he’d hit a loud crash. I said to myself, “What is wrong with this guy?” I still didn’t get it. Finally, he hollered over at me, “Get up out of that hole!” I said to myself, “Man, I guess I am in a hole. Nobody can hear me.” So I started playing harder and with more bite.
To read the five-part interview, go here, then scroll down to part 1 and work your way back up.
But first, you may wish to refamiliarize yourself with Golson’s work. Here, he leads a band with Curtis Fuller, trombone; Teramasu Hino, trumpet; Mulgrew Miller, piano; Ron Carter, bass; and Billy Higgins, drums. The piece is one of Golson’s most famous, “Blues After Dark.”