Composer, bandleader, saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson has established a legacy built on the pursuit of excellence. That excellence has also contributed to the legacy and careers of peers such as Art Farmer, Art Blakey & Lee Morgan while raising the bar among improvisers and composers for all generations that followed. His reputation as a true gentleman is equally renowned. Mr. Golson is a leading clinician and his current group featuring the rhythm section of drummer Carl Allen, bassist Buster Williams and pianist Mike LeDonne is a leading ensemble churning out the truest swing. You wont find a more honest and pleasant soul as Mr. Golson, and it was a treasure to have a conversation with him for Jazzwatch. If you have not seen him in concert, please do so, and be on the lookout for a new CD from Mr. Golson in 2016.
NEA Jazz Master Lou Donaldson remains one of the foremost practitioners of swinging, feel-good groove music. He cut his teeth playing for original bebop jazz audiences as a sideman and bandleader appearing on the now classic, “A Night At Birdland” recording from 1954. For the next 20 plus years, Poppa Lou set out on his own to develop a touring route that would reach urban jazz audiences from New York to California. The crowd that he cultivated were major supporters and pushed records like “Blues Walk” and “Alligator Boogaloo” to radio and jukebox hits and best sellers. Several of his groovy tunes from the later 60’s and early 70’s saw new life as samples in Hip Hop productions by artists such as De La Soul, The Pharcyde, Mad Lib, Pete Rock and many more. Lou gave us some great wisdom in this conversation. Enjoy!