BENNY GOLSON & SELMER SAXOPHONES
Benny Golson and Patrick Selmer - Paris, France.
Benny says, "Selmer makes the best instruments in the world. I have joyfully and successfully played their saxophones since 1951".
I've been a tenor saxophone player since the age of 14. Though I can play the clarinet, which I began at age 15, I have chosen to concentrate on my saxophone completely. But in the beginning, at age 9, I fancied I wanted to become a concert pianist and went about working very hard (practicing) pursuing this career, acquiring a small repertoire that I made use of when playing for ladies' tea parties and fashion shows. However, at age 14, when I discovered the saxophone. and to the dismay of my mother, I abandoned the piano, though I had to continue playing it in college as a requirement of their music program.
I then joined the ranks of all other aspirants in Philadelphia and went on to eventually become a professional musician, working with many names in (and out) of jazz. This included: Bullmoose Jackson, Earl Bostic, Herbie Fields, Tiny Grimes, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Hodges, Woody Herman, Art Blakey, Lionel Hampton, Tadd Dameron.
Somehow my compositional skills placed me more in the spotlight than my saxophone playing. I've written 8 jazz standards which have been recorded by innumerable international musicians.
I have had 334 recordings so far on one tune in particular: “I Remember Clifford.” The others are: Whisper Not, Stablemates, Along Came Betty, Killer Joe, Blues March, Are You Real? Five Spot After Dark. And there are many others.
I play the tenor saxophone extensively, though I have a soprano saxophone, clarinet and flute. I have an old metal Otto Link mouthpiece that Mr. Link made especially for me many years ago after many experiments. I cherish this mouthpiece because of its open design that I play with an extremely hard number 6 reed made especially for me by Rico Reeds that they call popsicle sticks.
When I first began playing I, of course, had no inkling of a good sound. My mother bought me a Martin and later a Bueschure wide bell. By then my ear had become very aware of a good tenor saxophone sound. I kept trying to improve my sound and spent many hours engaging myself in the boring practice of playing only long tones and listening, and listening, and listening. Then I noticed that Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and my idol, Don Byas, who all had big sounds, were playing saxophones with a metal circle attaching the bell to the body of the saxophone. I soon discovered that this was a Selmer saxophone. The circle caught my attention, but it was the sound that won me over. By now I was ready to purchase my own saxophone with no help from my parents. I quickly went to a local music store to try out one of these saxophone. It was love at first sound. It was then that I became the player of only Selmer saxophones including my soprano. There was no higher degree of sound I could attain with my Selmer because it was, and is, the ultimate in sound, and its been that way for many years. Other saxophones? Very nice but they are not Selmers. To me Selmer is synonymous with all that's superlatively the greatest. I'd be in a netherworld without my Selmer. Selmer fulfills dreams!