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Thanks for the chance to host again this month ..... I chose a tune by one of my all time favorite jazz composers, Benny Golson. This month's song is the classic "Whisper Not". This tune features a hummable, soulful melody but also is full or little harmonic twists and turns that keep you on your toes as an improvisor. Here's a live video featuring Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers for anybody not familiar with the tune or just wanting to check out some great music!


 

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Another live video, with Benny, Art Farmer and Milt Jackson.

 

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I will work on this tune... found a short impro I transcribed from Wes Montgomery's solo couple of years ago, probably when listened his discography.

Want to share a little story directly related to "Whisper not".

July 1 this year, during our Montreal Jazz Fest I had a chance to be at Mr. Benny Golson concert in a small venue.
During my 23 years in Montreal and watching a lot of Giants, Benny never came in town. And it was kind of my dream to see him, but with years going and his age (89 now), I lost a hope.
But when got a call in May from the Jazz bar owner about Benny Golson, I was first to reserve a sit.
I met him after the performance, had a short chat and of course took a pic with him for my Jazz corner.

So, no place here for my feelings... He is very interesting person and has tons of stories. I saw a lot of his interviews, workshops and footage on youtube before. But live is another thing.
He mentioned that every successful tune had a jazz critics' feedback. So he read the stories invented about "whisper", kind of what inspired him to create this tune...
Short, he told that this particular one has nothing to do with his mood, event or other whatsoever... just "nothing" he told.
But the next one he played was "I remember Clifford"... And he told whole story about the news of death of Brownie. And then his desire to create something in honor of Clifford, Dizzy's reaction and first player who did it on trumpet.

It was at a time 18 years old Lee Morgan (Dizzy gave him to perform the tune that all musicians loved).

So we are back to "Whisper not". Sure we'll have nice stuff here.
 

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Great choice! Have been playing that one for a long time but it's been one or two years that I did it on a gig last time. I'll try to do a recording this month.

I once heard Benny Golson play that tune on a concert in Germany. It was a summer open air festival and the band opened the set with "Whisper not". Almost noone in the audience was listening - people were sitting on their tables, talking to each other and having beer and sausages. I got nearly angry about that, it felt like a really bad situation for Benny Golson and his equally great line-up. Lots of ignorant and culture-resistant dorks who were more interested in their beer than in Benny's music in my eyes. Very few people applauded after the tune. The band was aware of that situation. So what did Benny Golson do? He grabbed the microphone, welcomed the audience and the first thing he did was telling everyone a story.
The story was about his first gig with John Coltrane when they were both young and naive boys trying to be cool and to get into the scene being 16 years old. Somehow they managed to get a gig together in a big band of their hometown (Philly) but when they came to the venue they had to find out that the bandleader had hired two older and more experienced players in the meantime. The band was already playing when Benny and John arrived and the doorkeeper didn't let them in because of their age. The stage was altered in the bandroom, so they had to lay down on the floor outside the club to see who was playing and to find out that they had been deceived by the bandleader.
Benny told that story in a very amusing way with all his and John's feelings involved and at a moment's notice the whole audience of beer drinkers and ignorant idiots turned into a deeply listening and fascinated crowd of jazz-loving highbrows. It stayed like that until the end of the concert. I was highly impressed by Mr. Golson's ability to focus an audience in such a professional and positive way ... and I still am.
 

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I met him after the performance, had a short chat and of course took a pic with him for my Jazz corner.
I once heard Benny Golson play that tune on a concert in Germany
Cool stories - thanks for sharing. They add a lot to what for me would be just another tune. :)

this time I'm the first one, Brendan I won the race ! :)
Argh ... I take my eye off the ball and look what happens ... :evil:

A sultry version Guido - love the bluesy feel of the solo. :mrgreen:
 

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Hello everybody,
back from holidays, I learned this great song. Here's my tenor take.
https://soundcloud.com/taragot/whisper-not_tenor.
Listened to Guido's take, which I tried to imitate a bit with it's bluesy style.
Looking foreward to many versions!

PS: Great story Jo! It's so important to connect with the audience and needs a true artist to be able to do so.
 

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I would never have thought of having imitators ! :)

Nice take Taragot ! I like when, in second part of solo, you become a bit more rougly and free range.

Here is a take on bari, I have forsaken it a bit in recent times:

https://soundcloud.com/guido-creo/whisper-not-20180905-1-b

B Keilwerth sx 90 - JJ DV 7* - Fiberred Carbon M

Ciao
 

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Great playing, great flow, Jo! I can hear that you are playing this forever.
 

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Hello fellows, here's one of my versions:

https://soundcloud.com/jolind-1/totm-whisper-not

Actually I was more into checking my new tenor setup than nailing the tune down tonight, so please apologize the sloppy parts. Not yet sure if I'll keep it but for the moment I'm having fun.
Very nice Johannes, very strong early Rollins vibe (his Link period).

What is the new set-up?
 

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Here is my quick and dirty version, recorded with a bass only backing (a bit long!).

Tried to stay in a sub-tone mode to emulate the sound of Benny Golson a bit. Had to add some compression and a tiny bit of reverb to the sax track to get a better mix with the bass only backing.

- 'Whisper Not' (Florida no USA 10* - Rico Royal 2) - bass only backing:
https://www.soundclick.com/html5/v4/player.cfm?songID=13778740

Played this tune a very long time ago with a combo and should have an old recording of it, but can't find it back till now. If I find it I will post it.
 

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Here is my quick and dirty version, recorded with a bass only backing (a bit long!).

Tried to stay in a sub-tone mode to emulate the sound of Benny Golson a bit. Had to add some compression and a tiny bit of reverb to the sax track to get a better mix with the bass only backing.

- 'Whisper Not' (Florida no USA 10* - Rico Royal 2) - bass only backing:
https://www.soundclick.com/html5/v4/player.cfm?songID=13778740

Played this tune a very long time ago with a combo and should have an old recording of it, but can't find it back till now. If I find it I will post it.
Hello Peter, you're definitely in the Golson vibe with that sound mode, very authentic! I tried the same thing having some of Benny Golson's very relaxed versions in mind.
You're right, my current setup is a Link on my 10m. It's a current 7 STM model that I bought used and refaced it for my needs. The idea was getting a less opened piece and make it play easy and with good response so I can play harder reeds on it. I'm experimenting with 3.5 to 5 strengths now. The breakpoint and curve are optimized for red Rico and similar traditionally cut reeds - I'm not sure if this was a good idea as they lack quality sometimes, but at least these reeds are not as expensive as others.

Thank you all for the comments and thank you even more for contributing, Benny Golson's compositions really deserve some attention.
 

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Great call, David. Also enjoyed the Benny Golson stories. Such a great composer of tunes that often go in interesting directions, adding a bit of complexity. I feel like Benny is a bit of a musician's composer, not always as widely recognized as others from that era. The people that are deeper into jazz know and respect his work for sure. His tunes have been covered by all the great players.
 
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