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Benny Golson

Multi-talented and internationally renowned tenor saxophonist, Benny Golson was born in Philadelphia, PA, on January 25, 1929. With decades of experience as a composer, arranger, lyricist, and producer, Benny has earned the title of “jazz legend.”  

Raised with an impeccable musical pedigree, Benny has played in the bands of world famous Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Earl Bostic, and Art Blakey.

Few jazz musicians can claim to be true innovators and even fewer can boast of a performing and recording career that literally redefines the term "jazz." Benny Golson is the only living jazz artist to have written 8 standards for jazz repertoire, namely “Killer Joe,” “I Remember Clifford,” “Along Came Betty,” “Stablemates,” “Whisper Not,” “Blues March,” “Five Spot After Dark,” and “Are you Real?”

These jazz standards have found their way into countless recordings internationally over the years and are still being recorded.

Benny has recorded over 30 albums for many recording companies in the United States and Europe under his own name and innumerable ones with other major artists. For more than 60 years, Benny has not only enjoyed an illustrious recording career but has also written well over 300 compositions. He has composed and arranged music for well-known artists, including:

Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Mama Cass Elliott, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Shirley Horn, Davy Jones and the Monkees, Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee, Carmen McRae, Anita O'Day, Itzhak Perlman, Oscar Peterson, Lou Rawls, Mickey Rooney, Diana Ross, The Animals (Eric Burden), Mel Tomé, George Shearing, and Dusty Springfield.

Benny’s prolific writing includes scores for hit TV series and specials. His TV credits include M*A*S*H, Mannix, Mission Impossible, Mod Squad, Room 222, Run for Your Life, The Partridge Family, The Academy Awards, The Karen Valentine Show, and other television specials for ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Benny composed the theme for Bill Cosby’s last TV show. He has also composed for television specials in London (for BBC) and in Copenhagen. In addition, Benny composed for a French film, Des Femmes Disparaissent (Paris).

Benny has also written music for national radio and television spots for some of the major advertising agencies in the country, including Borateem, Canada Dry, Carnation, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Clorox, Dodge, General Telephone, Gillette, Heinz, Jack in The Box, Liquid-Plumr, McDonald's, Mattel, Monsanto, Nissan, Ohrbach’s, Ore-Ida, Parliament Cigarettes, Pepsi, and Texaco.

Benny has absolute mastery of the jazz medium. Not only has he blazed a trail in the world of jazz, but he is also passionate about teaching jazz to young and old alike. He has lectured at the Lincoln Center through a special series by Wynton Marsalis. He has lectured to doctoral candidates at New York University and to the faculty at National University at San Diego.
Benny has also conducted workshops and clinics across the country at countless universities and conservatories:

  • Appalachian University, Boone, NC
  • Berklee School of Music, Boston, MA
  • Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY
  • Howard University, Washington, DC
  • Julliard School of Music, New York, NY
  • Manhattan School of Music, New York, NY
  • New England Conservatory, Boston, MA
  • Paris Conservatory, Paris, France
  • Rutgers University, New Orleans, LA
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • University of Denver, Denver, CO
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
  • University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, Appleton, WI
  • William Paterson College, Wayne, NJ

A live performer who consistently knocks audiences off their feet, Benny has given hundreds of performances in the United States, Europe, South America, and Asian for decades. In 1987, he was sent by the U. S. State Department on a cultural tour of Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, and Singapore. Later, Philip Morris International sent him on an assignment to Bangkok, Thailand, to write music for the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra.

Benny has been honored with doctorates from William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ, and Berklee School of Music, Boston, MA.
Benny is working on a major college textbook and on his autobiography.

This humble musical giant continues to impress critics, fans, and fellow musicians with his prodigious contributions to the world of jazz.

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