Benny Golson / Benny Golson Quartet

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This 1998 CD reissues tenor-saxophonist Benny Golson's excellent Free album of 1962 plus seven of the ten selections from his Take A Number From 1 To 10 project of 1960. Although one wishes that both sets could have been reissued in full (the CD is just 62 minutes long), it is a joy to have Free available again. Golson's last album as a leader in which he plays in his Don Byas/Lucky Thompson style (he would soon become a fulltime arranger and, by the time he led his next playing date in 1977, Golson's sound was quite a bit different) finds him in top form. Joined by pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Art Taylor, Golson performs two originals, Will Davis' catchy "Sock Cha" and three standards with "Mad About The Boy" and "Just In Time" (during which he sounds a bit like Sonny Rollins) being among the highlights. The other session found the tenorman playing unaccompanied on a brief "You're My Thrill" and adding an instrument to each song, up to a tentet on the original album, and a septet here. The duet rendition of "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" is excellent and trombonist Curtis Fuller makes a strong impression on the speedy "Swing It." Despite the three missing tracks, this CD is recommended.

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