Benny Golson at the Jazz Bakeryl

Benny Golson Benny Golson
at the Jazz Bakery
by Paula Edelstein

Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson has dedicated his life to the incredibly rich tradition of jazz. His terrific show at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles covered the stylistic spectrum with masterful playing, sonics and wonderfully fresh improvisations that only a 50-year career could make available. Accompanied by Randy Porter on piano, Bob Magnusson on bass, and Ralph Penland on drums, the saxophone icon “cooked” for nearly ninety minutes as the audience sat through his evocative contrasts. Opening with “Touch Me Lightly,” a warm, introspective song written nearly 16 years ago by Golson, the quartet captivated the audience as the seasoned tenor created an atmosphere of tender romanticism. Benny Golson rendered the ballad beautifully.

His story telling was just as engaging as he told the story behind the ballads “Along Came Betty,” and “Thinking of You,” which explored the great tenor’s facets of the jazz tradition from America to Germany. On “Mr. P.C.” the John Coltrane piece, Golson displayed his top to bottom command of the saxophone as Ralph Penland stretched on his Gretsch! Bob Magnusson provided excellent support on the bass and showed some of his show-stopping pizzicato chops honed with the likes of Sarah Vaughan and The Buddy Rich Orchestra. Closing with Miles Davis’ “Stablemates,” the audience was treated to a great “conversation” between the saxophone and the drummer in an expressive rendition of the timeless classic.

The total involvement of the audience couldn’t have been more fitting. As we sat in total silence while this living jazz legend, Mr. Benny Golson, worked his imprint on the soul of jazz, we were thoroughly reminded that his abundant saxophone dynamics are inimitable. Benny Golson puts on one great show that works any place, any time, anywhere! For more information on the great Benny Golson, visit his website at