After Anker, it was one more block north to the Harro East Ballroom to see tenor master and composer of many jazz standards, Benny Golson. We arrived just as the first set was ending with a rousing non-Golson standard,“Take The A Train.”
When Golson and his quartet took the stage for the second set, they wasted little time picking up where they left off. The first tune was one of Golson’s greatest compositions, “Whisper Not.” Taken at mid-tempo, the composer-tenor saxophonist took a series of variations on the tune that made one realize he owned it. The set was varied, including a classic by an early Golson collaborator, trumpeter Clifford Brown “Tiny Capers”, a newer tune by Golson “Pierre Moments” and a popular standard.
After playing his own composition, the leader brought out his sidemen for individual turns. Ciacca, a fine Italian pianist who spices his bop pianistics with a slight left-of-center tinge, played an attractive original, “Nico’s Song.” Golson introduced veteran bassist Irwin solo feature with “You didn’t know it but this is the moment you all been waiting for. Irwin then proceeded to sing, whistle and spin his bass to “There’s No You.” Mike Melito, a Rochester drummer, was the last-minute replacement for Golson’s regular drummer, Ali Jackson. When one is looking for a bop-based drummer in Rochester, one needs to go no further than Melito. He propelled the music with finesse, and Golson featured him liberally, seemingly enjoying his playing.
Benny Golson Quartet
Harro East Ballroom
June 10, 2007
Benny Golson: tenor saxophone; Antonio Ciacca: piano; Dennis Irwin: bass; Mike Melito: drums