This week I’ll be linking to some classic Downbeat interviews. In this 1966 interview with legendary tenor man Benny Golson, Valerie Wilmer asks him about working in Europe, composing, and host of other topics. Here, Golson is very honest about one meeting with the great Clifford Brown:
“When I walked in, everything was very informal. Sonny Rollins and Clifford were leaning against the bandstand, and the music I brought was up on the bar. I was sitting on the bar facing them. The first tune was called ‘Step Lightly,’ and they began to play through the melody. Sonny took the first chorus and played it very well, and then Clifford started to play. His horn was pointing straight at me, about two feet away from my face, and the sound was coming straight at me. And then I got the strangest feeling. I got chill bumps all over my body, and I felt a sort of involuntary nervous reaction. He was playing so much on the horn that I felt like somebody was holding me on the stool. It really frightened me. I got scared, and then when he finished, I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to let him know how much he had impressed me, but it was a little embarrassing for a man to come on like this to another man, you know: ‘You made my heart beat fast’ and so on, so I didn’t say that.
“Instead I said, ‘Clifford, boy, you sure did play.’ And then he said something classic. He said, ‘Oh, I’ll get it the next time.’”
Click here to read The Peripatetic Benny Golson
— Peter Blasevick