Multitalented and internationally famous jazz legend—a composer, arranger, lyricist, producer, and tenor saxophonist of world note—Benny Golson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 25, 1929.
Raised with an impeccable musical pedigree, Golson 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." Golson has made major contributions to the world of jazz with such jazz standards as: "Killer Joe," "I Remember Clifford," "Along Came Betty," "Stablemates/Whisper Not," "Blues March," "Five Spot After Dark," and "Are you Real?"
Golson is the only living jazz artist to have written eight standards for jazz repertoire. These jazz standards have found their way into countless recordings internationally over the years and are still being recorded. He has recorded more than 30 albums for many recording companies in the United States and Europe under his own name and innumerable ones with other major artists. A prodigious writer, Golson has written well over 300 compositions.
For more than 55 years, Golson has enjoyed an illustrious, musical career in which he has not only made scores of recordings but has also composed and arranged music for: Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Mama Cass Elliott, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Shirley Horn, David 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 Torme, George Shearing, and Dusty Springfield.
His prolific writings includes scores for hit TV series and films:
M*A*S*H, Mission Impossible, The Partridge Family, The Academy Awards, and the theme for Bill Cosby's last TV show. He has also written music for national radio and television spots for some of the major advertising agencies in the country.
Golson has absolute mastery of the jazz medium. He has not only blazed a trail in the world of jazz but is 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.
Golson's musical odyssey has taken him around the world. 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. A live performer who consistently knocks audiences off their feet, Golson has given hundreds of performances in the United States, Europe, South America, the Far East, and Japan for decades. Golson is also working on a major college textbook and his autobiography.