82-year old tenor saxophonist Benny Golson has been an active musician all his life, but he has also written numerous jazz classics of the kind you can hum, sing or whistle after hearing them only a couple of times. And one can return to them after 10 – 20 – 30 years only to discover that they sound as fresh and catchy as ever.
But what is it in Golson’s music that attracts Jens Søndergaard and Bob Rockwell?
Jens explains: “I’ve played with Benny on many occasions over the past 20 years, and I always enjoyed his tunes for their enduring melodic substance. Some years ago I wrote arrangements of some of his tunes for alto, tenor and rhythm section, and it seemed natural to call Bob. We’ve tried to give the compositions a twist. For instance, Along Came Betty turned into a Bossa Nova, Uptown Afterburn went funky, we changed the time signature of Killer Joe to a suggestive 6/4, and Blues March is more Mingus than the usual classic Blakey version.”
The two horns sound good together.
Tenor saxophonist Bob Rockwell has lived in Denmark since 1983, and at 66 his playing is more personal, profound and charismatic than ever. His solid and exciting musicianship has made him one of the most popu- lar performers on the Danish jazz scene. Rockwell began playing with organ trios and tour bands at an early age. Later he played with Las Vegas show orchestras. In the mid-70s he was based in New York, playing with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Tito Puente, Freddie Hubbard and Ben Sidran. When he settled in Denmark, some of his regular gigs were with the Danish Radio Big Band, Ernie Wilkins’ Almost Big Band, Jan Kaspersen, Organizers and The Repertory Quartet. Rockwell’s sax is heard on countless recordings, and he has performed with his own groups and recorded for Steeplechase. Lately, he has recorded for Stunt Records: the award-winning BOB’S WILDER, and most recently, BOB’S BEN. He has toured all over Europe, in Japan and USA as a soloist and as a member of Ben Sidran’s quartet.
Jens Søndergaard’s playing also continues to evolve, still with his characteristic bite and energetic glow. No one can hear him without recognizing the influence from another alto player, Art Pepper. Not Pepper’s dramatic life style with narcotics prison record - not his personality, his tonality. But Jens doesn’t live in the master’s shadow. He has created his own expression and personal musical world. For 40 years he has been an active and powerful figure in Danish jazz – in big bands and combos, as a sideman or bandleader. He has released several albums in his own name. On Stunt Records: MORE PEPPER and an award-winning duo recording with pianist Kenny Werner, A TIME FOR LOVE. And all this while working full time at his own dental clinic!
The trio behind Jens and Bob is Sønderrgaard’s regular rhythm section of long standing. Pianist Thomas Bornø’s big ears, technical skill and lovely, distinct touch is easily recognizable, bassist Marc Davis is rock steady, and drummer Dennis Drud has the kind of youthful energy that lifts and pushes a band.
Benny Golson’s compositions are intertwined with the history of jazz. It is always a pleasure hearing his tunes, and for jazz musicians they are perfect vehicles for improvisation. Both these elements merge on MORE GOLSON.
By the way: Benny Golson is a great storyteller on stage. As an extra bonus, this album includes an introduction from a Danish concert, where he tells about his beginnings as a musician, and in particular about his tune “Along Came Betty”.
The Danish artist Erik Rasmussen painted the cover illustrations especially for MORE GOLSON.
Benny Golson, der im Januar 2013 84 Jahre alt wird. war mit stilbildend bei der Entwicklung des Hardbop, von ihm stammen einige der meist gespielten und wichtigsten Standards der Jazzgeschichte. Einige sind hier zu hören: Whisper Not, Killer Joe, Blues March... Jens Sondergaard hat häufig mit Golson gespielt in den letzten Jahrzehnten, und einige besondere Arrangements für Quintet geschrieben. Und Bob Rockwell eingeladen, den Tenor-Part zu übernehmen. Rockwell lebt seit 30 Jahren in Kopenhagen und schon oft mit Sondergaard gespielt, aber seine Schule war US-amerikanisch, er spielte vor allem in den 70ern mit allen amerikanischen Jazzmusikern von Rang.